There have been members of the Crookston City Council, City officials and community leaders who have been uncomfortable from day one with the City actively utilizing the green space once home to Central High School for much of anything. Constructing the red barn "Pavilion" really made them uneasy, considering that the City is merely leasing the land.

    There have been members of the Crookston City Council, City officials and community leaders who have been uncomfortable from day one with the City actively utilizing the green space once home to Central High School for much of anything. Constructing the red barn "Pavilion" really made them uneasy, considering that the City is merely leasing the land.

    So, given all that, one would think that if the property owners, Resource Management, Inc., told the City they'd sell all that green space as well as the building home to New Paths Area Learning Center for $125,000, it would be an offer the city council would want to seriously consider. It's a big piece of land, after all, that City leaders would like to see one day as a focal point for all kinds of downtown activity.

    But it's not that easy. Resource Management wants to sell the building formerly home to Central Junior High School, which includes a gym that has been neglected for many years, and apartments that aren't exactly seen as a gem of the community.

    Longtime Crookston property owner Jerry Persson wants to buy all of it, but there don't appear to be any financing options that would permit the City to fill the funding "gap" Persson is facing. Last week, the Times learned that the only potentially viable option would involve Persson buying the building, and the City buying the coveted green space for $125,000. Whether council members think that's simply too steep of a price, or they simply don't want such a purchase tied to Persson's plans is anyone's guess, since a majority of the council voted against pursuing the option in a session closed to the public and media.

    Mayor Wayne Melbye told the Times he hopes a potential deal isn't dead, adding that the City needs more information and more time in order to do the necessary due diligence.

    That sounds about right. Maybe everyone needs to slow down just a bit, and maybe dial back on some of the ambitious things Persson would like to do with the building. Maybe the top priority needs to simply be returning that once-great gymnasium to its long-ago status as a community asset. Shouldn't there be an estimate for stakeholders to study that shows what it's going to cost to make the gym usable again before anyone jumps into a deal? If you talk to some people in the community, they'll tell you the gym is in decent shape, considering how long it's been offline. Talk to others, though, and they'll tell you that just getting the gym going again is a seven-figure undertaking. Some clarity would be nice.

    Persson mentions a bowling alley in the building, too, someday. That's certainly exciting to consider, but what's that going to cost? How many lanes will it have? Most importantly, for all of these people who talk about how great a bowling alley returning to Crookston would be, how many of them will go bowling there?

    There are too many unanswered questions right now to move forward on a deal, or nix one entirely. Fill in some of those blanks, and then let's see where we're at.