Empower Crookston program

Formed in October 2023, Empower Crookston is a partnership between six organizations that aims to improve Crookston's quality of life, economy, and affordability by taking advantage of federal and state funding. These dollars will be spent on improving existing homes through energy efficiency projects, revitalizing the historic downtown district, and supporting the local economy. 

In October 2023,  the Crookston City Council voted unanimously to proceed with the action necessary to be included as a participant in the Minnesota Priority Climate Action Plan, and in November, Empower Crookston submitted a $33 million proposal to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for inclusion in the Plan. 

In January 2024, the Crookston City Council again voted unanimously to proceed with the action necessary to be included as a participant in the Minnesota Priority Climate Action Plan. The MPCA has since decided to move Crookston’s proposal forward, as a member of a larger coalition led by the MPCA, to secure federal EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant funding. On February 26, 2024, the Crookston City Council voted to continue collaborating with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) as part of a coalition submitting a proposal to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If awarded, this funding will become available in December 2024.

This group meets weekly and is always adding more community partners. 

Potential projects for Empower Crookston

Specifically, Empower Crookston is seeking funding for the following:

Minnesota Design Center Community Futures program

The Empowering Small Minnesota Communities (ESMC) program aims to encourage residential energy upgrades, economic development, enhancement of existing assets, and improved affordability and quality of life for communities under 15,000 residents. The program is through the University of Minnesota. More information can be found here.

As the ESMC website explains:

The goal? Lay the groundwork for competitive proposals that could be eligible for a wide range of funding opportunities. 

How? By working together to creatively leverage community assets and ideas and strengthening projects and plans for resilient physical, social, and economic infrastructure.

Crookston can realize these benefits through both the Empower Crookston and Community Futures projects and can lead the way for revitalizing rural communities while achieving Minnesota’s decarbonization goals.

Potential Projects for ESMC program

currently seeking input from Crookston residents


Community Asset Map

At the "I Love Crookston" event, city residents provided ideas they would like to see implemented in the town.

Click on a map dot to see each suggestion, drag to move, and use the + and – buttons to zoom.

The "person at work" symbols signify suggestions that a community member made.

The heart symbols signify parts of Crookston that community members love.

The star symbols were added to provide some landmark locations for orienting around the map.