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Rebooted Crookston Visitors Bureau clears two more hurdles

With the approvals in place, CVB leaders say they can now get down to the business of deciding how best to help organizations put on events that put more 'heads on beds' in local lodging facilities

Mike Christopherson

With its federal non-profit status secured, the rebooted Crookston Visitors Bureau cleared two more hurdles Monday night on its way to being fully operational when the Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee unanimously approved the new CVB’s inaugural agreement with the City, as well as the CVB’s first board of directors.

    Both items will next be on the council’s Dec. 14 meeting agenda for final consideration.

    The CVB’s inaugural board of directors is comprised of

    • Cory Dallager, AmericInn

    • Laurie Stahlecker, Crookston Inn

    • Dean Adams, Adams Heating & Cooling

    • Brent Melsa, Drafts

    • Brooke Panzer, Happy Joe’s

    • Steve Erickson, city council

    • Joe Kresl, city council

    • Nell DeBoer, UMN Crookston

    • Greg Garmen, Crookston High School

    • Jess Bengtson, Downtown Crookston Development Partnership

    • Kristi Swanson, Crookston Blue Line Club

    • Nathan Lubarski, Crookston Youth Basketball Association

    • Bob Magsam, Crookston Rotary Club

    Dallager, Stahlecker, Adams, Melsa, Panzer, Erickson and Kresl are voting members.

    City Administrator Amy Finch said Monday that she’d been working closely with CVB leaders and City Attorney Charles “Corky” Reynolds in recent weeks to have the initial agreement and board appointees ready for council consideration by its Nov. 23 meeting. Finch noted that the interim/temporary CVB Board at its previous meeting had signed off on the initial agreement with the City.

    “The CVB Board has been very good to work with,” Finch added.

    Stahlecker and Dallager attended Monday’s meeting in person, with DeBoer participating over the phone. The trio was asked several questions and were pressed for details on just how they would judge the applications for CVB grant dollars, via lodging tax revenue, when various organizations putting on events request funds to help market those events. Stahlecker and DeBoer, with Finch chiming in as well, stressed that they’d focused their efforts in recent weeks on finalizing the CVB’s agreement with the City, and that the CVB Board had not had a chance to discuss at length specific policies and procedures when it comes to approving or denying grant applications. Stahlecker did say that the idea wouldn’t be to simply give money to the same organizations and the same events year after year, and that there would be an emphasis on providing grant funds – likely a $3,000 max – to organizations that launch new events, or organizations that grow and/or modify their events with an eye on putting “more heads on beds” in local lodging facilities.

    “We would like to see the CVB be a partner with individuals to help them grow things that have maybe been here for 10 years,” Stahlecker explained. “Maybe they piggyback with another event to make it two days” instead of one.

    “Our group needs to meet and discuss the guidelines. We have ideas, but we haven’t had time to discuss them at length,” DeBoer added. “The agreement has been our focus, getting it approved, and then moving onto the rest. We spent a lot of time knocking out this agreement with Amy so we can get moving and get this going.”

    The CVB Board next meets on Dec. 10.