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Times 2020 Election Candidate Profile: Wayne Melbye, challenger City Council At-Large

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

First off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your family, education, background/previous stops, career, etc.?

    Paulette and I have been happily married for 46 years. We have three grown sons: Will and Susan, who have three daughters, Natasha, Isabelle and Madelynn. They live in Franklin, Virginia. Jacob and Kendra and they have two sons, Jameson and Brody, in Peoria, Arizona. And Sam and Marley Melbye, living here in Crookston.

    I graduated from UMC with a degree in Marketing and retired after 15 years as General Manager of Crookston Fuel/Ampride.

    I have served as a Council member and Mayor for the City of Crookston between 2003-2108. I also served as a Firefighter for the City of Crookston for 20 years.

Why are you running for Crookston City Council?   

    After a two-year hiatus from the Council, I find myself missing the involvement in City government and feel this is a great time for me to get back to work helping make a better Crookston.

Can you list what you think are the three best things the Crookston community has going for it at this particular moment in time, and reasons why you chose these three things?    

    Crookston has a lot of positive things going for it right now, in particular the strides we are making in the housing area. Having rising interest for investments in our community with housing complexes demonstrates that we are growing in the right direction.

    Housing developments on both the north and south ends of the city are underway and witnessing the work these developers have put in has proven that people want to live in Crookston and want amenities to make life better.

    In the near future Crookston will be seeing the opening of a remodeled and enhanced RiverView Hospital as a result of the city working together with RiverView to obtain financing through bonding.

    Our established parks and trials are a fantastic part of the recreation life in Crookston. It is exciting to see the city’s continued efforts to expand the recreational opportunities as we are in the midst of a grant for a corridor on the River with possible RV park, boat ramps, docks and Safe House Shelter (Bath House).

On the flip side, what trio of challenges facing the Crookston community are the most daunting, in your view? What can/should/needs to be done to tackle these challenges?    

    Crookston is like many cities in the fact that we are seeing businesses suffering from operating restrictions caused by COVID, and we all have the desire to return to “normal.” One of the best ways to help support our community businesses is to patronize them regularly. Also, in my opinion, Crookston could benefit from more retail businesses and restaurants.

Please describe what you envision downtown Crookston will be like in 10 years.

    In the next 10 years, Downtown Crookston very well could be more service orientated, with businesses focused on service by appointment, which requires less parking. In following this trend, there will be a need for eateries and more niche stores to complement the living areas and entertainment centers located downtown.

If you had to grade the performance of the Crookston City Council, mayor position and City administration over the past five years, what grade would you give? Please explain why you chose the grade you did.    

    The Crookston community is my home and I am focused on home improvement and that is always a moving target. Over the past five years the Council, Mayor and City Administration has seen a large amount of turnover. The inexperience in leadership positions has produced some growing pains with our projects. I believe that I can bring the needed experience and a willingness to find common ground to really move the council, our projects and our community in a positive direction and continue to make our home improvements – together.

Can you list two people in your life that have particularly inspired you, or two people that you especially admire and try to emulate? Please explain your choices.    

    My first person to emulate would be my father, Butch Melbye. He was always a truthful man who could talk to a President or a common laborer. He was always mindful in every situation and respectful of people and their positions. Sometimes you might not respect the person, but you must always respect the position.

    My wife, Paulette. For years she worked as a Medical Assistant with Northwest Clinic and Altru Clinic. She worked with people that were at their most vulnerable situation in their life and she always had respect. She listened, advised and showed empathy. I have not met many that she has touched in their live that are not appreciative for what she did. Great work ethic and mothering skills and a fine individual.

Wayne Melbye