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Recreational path lighting to be considered in Crookston

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    The recreational path that begins on South Main and extends along Fairfax all the way to the military memorial on Crookston’s eastern edge will soon have enhanced lighting to make the stretch of path more user-friendly at night, especially during the winter when it gets dark so early.

    The Crookston City Council green-lighted the project this week, after City staff and City Administrator Amy Finch consulted with Otter Tail Power Company, because it’s affordable at a cost of around $2,000 a year, and the added lighting will have very minimal impact on residential homes and neighborhoods.

    But another site identified as a good place to add trail lighting, the path that winds through Cedar Court in the northeast corner’s Evergreen States subdivision, is a bit more complicated. While it would only cost around $1,100 a year after the installation of nine green-colored wooden poles and LED light fixtures spaced 250 feet apart, some council members and City officials are concerned that homeowners living nearby won’t appreciate the added light potentially penetrating their yards and homes.

    “It gets rather intrusive, I think, personally,” Public Works Director Pat Kelly said.

    Mayor Dale Stainbrook added that he didn’t think Evergreen Estates residents would appreciate new poles and lights running right along their property.

    There are options that are likely less intrusive, Finch said, but they are come at a significantly higher cost.

    The added lighting on the Fairfax path will utilize existing Otter Tail Power poles, Kelly noted.

    As for the possibility of added lighting in the Cedar Court area, council members and City officials want to know what impacted residents living nearby think before any additional options are explored and decisions are made.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson brought enhanced trail lighting to the council’s attention in December, after he said his daughter complained to him about how dark some stretches are, especially where trails curve. He checked it out for himself and agreed with her assessment. Erickson said it might be wise for the City to invest a little bit of money each year to add lighting to a various stretches of the City’s trail system that are identified as needing it the most.

    “We do spend a lot of money on making the paths and maintaining them,” he said this week. “It’s amazing how many people use them.”