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"Civil" Democracy At Work In Crookston - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

"Civil" Democracy At Work In Crookston

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  At a time when many Americans are calling Congress dysfunctional, Crookston residents have proven that citizens can wade through controversy, and make democracy work.  Last night, at an emotion charged meeting, the City Council reversed its position and turned down plans for a new R.V. Park.

  Opponents of a new, proposed RV Park gathered at one last rally, before Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

Gary Willhite, Crookston City Council: “Sometimes I really believe, we tak these things for granted. And once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

  The controversy started last month, when the City Council proposed turning over this City Park to a private developer. 

  It sounded like a good deal. The developer would take over the land and foot the one-million dollar bill to provide infrastructure for a 70-unit RV Park. The park would be used for tourism and to house seasonal workers at the sugar beet plant.

  But, what sounded like a good deal, quickly sprouted a grass roots movement opposing the project.

  Opponents questioned removing trees in this park, and more importantly, turning over City Park land to a private developer.

Woman:  “We have signatures from…”

  They gathered nearly 700 signatures on a petition opposing the project, held rallies and in force at last night’s meeting, made sure City Council members knew a large part of the Community was against the project.

  …and despite the Council clearly having enough votes to go ahead with the project last week, opponents turned 2 Council members to no votes. It created tie that was broken by Mayor Dave Geneurex ‘s vote to throw out the proposal.

Dave Genereux, Crookston Mayor: “Absolutely, people can change our opinions. We can look at other options.”

Reporter: “Did you get a little more faith in City Government?”

Man: “Yes, sir. Absolutely.”

Woman: “I think the more we discuss things and put everything out on the table, it will work in our favor.”

  Another opponent noted they accomplished their goal of keeping their park, by having persistent, civil conversations.

  It’s a lesson that may be of service to other political leaders.

   The Crookston City Council says they’ll now consider other locations for a possible RV Park.

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