Minnesota RV Park Plan Has Some Opposition

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March 15, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Crookston (Minn.) City Council unanimously adopted on Monday (March 14) a resolution to continue with the city's DNR Parks and Trails grant application, funded by the Legacy amendment fund, which would include an RV park.

No one is against it entirely; the two most vocal opponents at tonight's required public hearing, John Sampson and Mary Bollinger, were not in favor of the campground and the dog park, respectively, The Crookston Daily Times reported.

Bollinger, who said she's lived on College Avenue nearby for 70 years, said doesn't want the increaesed traffic and the smell near her property. She said she'll "fight it until the finish," even if it means pursuing litigation. "If it comes to filing a lawsuit, I'll be there," Bollinger said. "Because I have the money!"

Resident Ann Garrison, who said her home is surrounded by people with lots of dogs, said a dog park would be a way to "bring people together" and, more specifically, show young dog owners how to properly care for and clean up after their dogs. Sampson's Addition resident Winnie Skaarland also chimed in, questioning if any dog park opponents had ever actually visited a dog park. "There are rules that people have to follow," she said.

Sampson, who lives in Thief River Falls, owns 560 acres of land that borders Castle Park. He spoke out last year against the dog park, but that was when the tentative plan was to locate it on the southern portion of Castle Park, closer to his property. Now, with dog park moved further to the north, the campground is proposed to be located on the southern edge of the park.

Sampson, who complained about not having enough time to prepare a presentation and then about not having enough time to voice his opposition, said he'd like to sell his property and/or see it developed into apartments with high balconies with a command view of the Castle Park wilderness. With campers and RVs parked in the campground, he said, "the whole visual deal will be ruined."

The grant is due March 31. The city, with the Park Board's endorsement, is pursuing it because the Castle Park proposal seems to fit the DNR grant parameters perfectly. The project, with a price tag of just under $402,000, requires a 25% local match, which City Administrator Aaron Parrish said has been identified in the form of various park-related reserve accounts. If funded in the current grant cycle, Parrish said the completion goal is October 2013.

The proposal includes the campground, which would replace the city's flood-prone campground in Castle Park. Each campsite would have water and electricity and, even though it's not reimbursable in the grant, possibly sewer at a later date. The proposal also includes a Red Lake River recreation area and fishing pier, a shelter, enhancements of the existing trail system, a traditional playground as well as a nature-based "discovery" playground, and enhancements to the current dog park plans. The biggest expense, by far, is the campground, with a $274,650 estimated cost.

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