Non-profit status secured, new Crookston CVB sits down

Times Report
Crookston Times

    The Crookston Visitors Bureau’s temporary board of directors convened their first official meeting Thursday at the Crookston Inn & Convention Center after achieving their 501(c)6 nonprofit status. Officers were elected and topics like the proposed agreement with the City of Crookston for use of lodging tax dollars for tourism marketing, updates to bylaws, and replacement of a City Council member after election results were discussion points.

    The board’s University of Minnesota Crookston liaison, Nell DeBoer, was elected chair followed by Crookston Inn owner Laurie Stahlecker as vice chair, Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream manager Brooke Panzer as secretary and Downtown Crookston Development Partnership liaison Jess Bengtson as treasurer.

    Note: The final board of directors and officers may change after appointments recommended by Mayor Dale Stainbrook and council approved following the completed city agreement and following the annual CVB meeting which is scheduled for January 2021.

    On the CVB’s first agenda, board members went over the new CVB’s mission that included marketing, goals, structure and cost savings which highlighted no need for a physical office space, but a strong community presence with open communication. DeBoer told the Times their main goal is to market Crookston, first and foremost, as a place for people to visit at any time of year and an updated master events calendar is a big part of that, plus including all stakeholders in the conversation like the city, schools and university, sports clubs, local businesses, service clubs and community volunteers.

    City Administrator Amy Finch and CVB appointed City Council members Steve Erickson and Joe Kresl were also part of Thursday’s group and transparency continued to surface with the board agreeing that financials, meeting minutes and important information needed to be relayed to the City Council on a monthly basis especially for the first year of operation, DeBoer added.

    Note: Kresl’s appointment will be discussed at Monday’s City Council meeting after the 2020 election showed formerly appointed CVB representative and City Council member Jake Fee losing his reelection bid.

    Access to CVB funds and assets left at the Crookston Chamber office was another bulletpoint on the agenda and Finch reportedly mentioned that a full audit wouldn’t need to be done, but the group agreed a reconciliation of finances from the past 24 months should be completed. The Crookston City Council previously approved an audit of the Crookston Chamber and CVB for up to $5,000 and the newly formed CVB was interested in looking back to that resolution with the help of Finch and their Council representatives.

    The CVB’s proposed agreement with the city will be included on the Ways & Means Committee agenda for November 23.