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Our view: As inflation boosts prices, it is time to move forward on the proposed Crookston sports facility

In Crookston, the multi-sport facility is proposed to be built on school property, officially ending the district’s reliance upon the University of Minnesota Crookston football and track facilities. Once UMC dropped its football program, the football stadium started to deteriorate; the school district could fix it, but it doesn’t make sense to invest district dollars into property it doesn’t own. What does make sense is to build new on school property.

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Approximately $3.91 million. That’s the expected price tag of the new sports facility proposed by the Crookston School Board.

The final say will be left to voters, but it sounds like the project is necessary as infrastructure erodes, upkeep is needed and an old agreement looks to be coming to an end.

Should the projects be approved and should construction soon begin?

Yes.

Even as inflation continues to rise and therefore likely will add more dollars to these already spendy projects?

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Again, yes.

At a public-input meeting last week in Crookston, an inflation-related cost increase was one of the concerns brought forth by an attendee. “To me it’s a poor time for you guys to be asking for more money from anybody with inflation at 8.5% and no end in sight,” he said.

With respect to that concern – and it is a valid concern – we believe rising inflation is exactly why the school district should move forward with this project. Other entities should consider it, too.

In Crookston, the multi-sport facility is proposed to be built on school property, officially ending the district’s reliance upon the University of Minnesota Crookston football and track facilities. Once UMC dropped its football program, the football stadium started to deteriorate; the school district could fix it, but it doesn’t make sense to invest district dollars into property it doesn’t own.

What does make sense is to build new on school property.

According to reporting last week in the Herald, the multi-sport facility is planned for district land to the northeast of Crookston High School. The facility will include an artificial turf field, eight-lane track, press box, seating for 750 people, a concession stand and bathrooms. The space would be able to facilitate practices and competitions for football, track, soccer and softball, as well as baseball practices. During the school day, PE classes would be able to use the facility.

To pay for it, property taxes would rise. For a residential property valued at $200,000, the yearly tax increase from 2022 to 2023 would be $29. A commercial property valued at $250,000 would see a $67 increase. For agricultural properties, the bond would decrease tax impact because of the School Building Bond Agricultural Credit, a Minnesota tax credit that reduces property tax impact of school building projects on agricultural properties.

According to an Associated Press report earlier this week, “inflation is taking a toll on infrastructure projects across the U.S., driving up costs so much that state and local officials are postponing projects, scaling back others and reprioritizing their needs.” So the concern about inflation during last week’s public meeting in Crookston certainly has merit.

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But even though the price comes in somewhere around $4 million, it really doesn’t seem that expensive, considering what the district will get in return – a brand-new facility on its own property, one that will be used for decades to come.

The longer the community waits, the more expensive it’s going to get.

Now seems to be a good time to move forward with the new athletics facility in Crookston, one that the district’s athletes – and taxpayers – can call their own.

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