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City of Crookston to research outside marketing firms after Chamber request discussion

Jess Bengtson
jbengtson@crookstontimes.com

    During budget discussions at the Ways & Means Committee meeting Monday night, the Crookston Chamber’s $25,000 marketing request was brought up and the council agreed that more research needs to be done on outside marketing firms plus the city needs to decide what it wants to market before offering to pay someone.

    Crookston School District Superintendent Jeremy Olson was in the audience and mentioned, when asked, that the marketing company the district uses might specifically work with schools, but felt the city should seek out an expert and determine their own strategy.

    Ward 1 City Council member Jake Fee agreed with having a strategy and said he wasn’t saying the city should go one way or another, but felt if they were going to “spend that kind of money” they should know what to push.

    “We need to have more than videos and feely-good stuff; we need substance,” Fee added.

    Ward 5 City Council member Joe Kresl echoed Fee’s thoughts saying they should bring in someone that’s really going to “do it” and not to “put it out there to the first person that asks” but, rather, figure out what the city’s strategy is going to be as “$25,000 would go a long ways.”

    Ward 2 City Council member Steve Erickson added his opinion saying with the metro area being as “dysfunctional as they are” that now is the time to market Crookston and it’s “best-tasting drinking water” and its (previously published) “safest city” title.

    “At the end of the day, what we’re doing now will not get metro people here,” Erickson added.

    Ward 4 City Council member Don Cavalier mentioned that “Greater Minnesota” might have some resources for the city and At-Large City Council member Tom Vedbraaten added they should put a focus on healthcare, schools, housing, factories, and possibly shopping.

    Fee continued the conversation saying he would be for an “invoice only” partnership where the selected person or company supplies their talents so the city isn’t just saying “here’s $25,000” and “run with it.” He asked Finance Director and interim City Administrator Angel Weasner if anyone on the city’s staff could look into companies that specialize with city marketing and Weasner said she would have someone do the research.

    Note: It was also mentioned earlier in the conversation that the Crookston Chamber’s marketing coordinator had recently relocated to another city, but planned to continue working remotely for the Chamber.