Jake Solberg hired as new Crookston Parks & Rec Director

The Park Board also changed the hours of Splash Park operations and approved an updated Central Park campground design

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Crookston Park Board’s recommendation to hire Jake Solberg as the new Parks & Recreation Director was approved by the City Council at their August 9 meeting. Solberg, who will replace the now-retired Scott Riopelle, currently works for the City of East Grand Forks and previously worked in Williston, North Dakota as their Parks & Rec Coordinator and then Rec Superintendent. He is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota Crookston.

    City Administrator Amy Finch detailed the hiring process to the Park Board and said, out of the six finalists, Solberg stood out with experience and his demeanor.

Splash Park Hour Changes

    Citing concerns from parents about the current reduced hours of the Crookston Splash Park, Parks & Rec Supervisor Scott Butt asked the Park Board to consider changing the hours of operation to better accommodate work and dinner schedules.

    “Right now the splash pad is open from 1-7 p.m. and in talking with some parents in town they thought it was difficult to get the kids fed and then to the splash park at night,” Butt explained. “I’m looking for a recommendation to move the hours from 2-8 p.m. or 3-9 p.m.; right now we lock the hut at 9 p.m.”

    Park Board chair Mike LaFrance agreed they could be more accommodating to parents and noted he’s seen “quite a few people playing in the water”, especially during softball in the evenings. Finch added that an hour change would result in a city resolution adjustment. The board approved an hour change for the splash park to 2-8 p.m. daily until Labor Day.

Central Park Campground

    While the City Council will have the official say at their upcoming meeting to approve plans and specifications, and call for bids on the Central Park campground improvements, the Park Board approved an alternative rendering with fewer spots where the redesign adds more “pull-through” options to accommodate bigger RVs and trucks/trailers. Finch called the redesign more “user-friendly” and City Council member and Park Board liaison Kristi Jerde said it might be more appealing to longterm campers.

    Jerde also asked if there has ever been any research or studies done to see how many have camped at Central Park, how long their stay was and why they visited, but was met with uncertainty. Butt told the board that the park is “very seldomly” at capacity and the only times he sees it full is during the Ox Cart Days festival.

Jake Solberg appears at the August 9 City Council meeting