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Crookston block empty since 2011, eyed for potential housing

Polk County commissioners remain hopeful that a Crookston city block located kitty-corner from their government center will soon be back on the tax rolls.

The commissioners recently decided to put the 1.8-acre block -- with paved streets on three sides and an alley on the fourth -- up for bids again. They're asking for a minimum bid of $50,000, just as they did earlier this year when they received no offers.

It is historic land, as St. Vincent's Hospital was built there more than 100 years ago. The structure later became St. Vincent's Nursing Home and last served as office space for the county, which took possession after forfeiture for taxes.

When the two-story, brick structure was no longer needed for offices, it was demolished in 2011 because county officials believed it would be easier to sell as an empty lot. Plus, commissioners wanted a less complicated and less expensive process than with the historic Wayne Hotel, which was demolished in 2011 after almost 10 years of uncertainty about its future.

"We don't really care what goes there, but my thought is it would be a great spot for twin homes or condos," said Warren Strandell, commissioner from East Grand Forks.

"It's close to downtown, is located on high-and-dry land and all the infrastructure is already there."

Except for the government center, more commonly known in Crookston as the courthouse, the block is surrounded by housing.

"The only restriction on the property is that it must meet the zoning requirements," said Rob Wagner, county assessor.

"Residential would seem to be the best idea for it. For commercial, it's off the beaten path."

Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to