The Crookston Park Board met Monday night at City Hall approving a group of neighbors to continue planning an outdoor rink for next winter on the north end of the Crookston.  Mike Enright, who previously spoke with City Council, brought a couple of sketches of the rink he and his neighbors were proposing for Evergreen Park. 

Enright also said that the group had gotten ahold of an old Zamboni (formerly the City of Crookston’s) and believed they would be able to put the rink including boards, Zamboni parts, and lighting for just over $3,000.  Twenty-two families and seven businesses have committed to helping the group make the rink happen.  Danielle Sylvester said she wants her kids to get the same experiences she had growing up playing outdoor hockey with her friends.  “I come and I guess a lot of people come from huge hockey families,” said Sylvester.  “My dad’s been a coach in the community for probably 28 years.  My uncle also coached the boy’s high school team in town.  I grew up playing hockey every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, any time there was ice that’s what our family did.  Even when the rinks were closed we’d take it outdoors, take it to boot hockey.  It’s what I grew up with and its what I want my kids to grow up doing.  Yes, it’s convenient to drop them off in a building and go skate.  But they learn the best in small group areas, out with the elements and grow from that.  I just would really love to see what we grew up doing.”

Although the group was looking at Evergreen Park, Parks and Recreation Director Scott Riopelle suggested the proposed rink move to Alexander Park for increased space and protection from the wind.  “They were specifically looking at Evergreen Park,” said Riopelle.  “The Park Board and I have suggested that we look at Alexander Park because it’s a bigger space, a little further into the community, better protected and has a little more room for expansion.  Evergreen is border by a basketball court, playground, and walking path so there is no space to put the snow. At Alexander, there is more room and more infrastructure in play to better suit our needs.”

The Park Board passed a motion to continue looking at Alexander Park as the possible destination for the rink next winter, although the opportunity for further discussion about Evergreen Park was left open. “Right now the city has approved Alexander as a location,” said Enright. “We’d like to talk to the people invested in this rink and see if they would be willing to move that location from Evergreen Park.  We know that’s a park that a lot of everybody enjoys and is close by where most of the families are.  But Alexander isn’t too far away and could be a good secondary location.”

The Park Board also heard from Larry Brekken with the Pickleball Club who thanked the City for all they’ve done for the club including the courts at Schuster Park.  Because of the growth of the club they will use portable nets on one of the tennis courts when they get together to play, which is each Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who has helped with painting and some other tasks at Wildflower Garden and was wondering if with the gardening club seeming to have dispersed if there was anything that could be done to maintain the park a little more, including extra benches or tables.  Riopelle said Parks and Rec should have some tables or benches that could be placed there.  He also added that with the gardening club not being as active, the city would probably look at having the staff that maintains the other city flowers do some more work down there.  The garden is set up as a community garden so Riopelle did say he’d also encourage anyone with an interest in helping out to do so.