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City council says county board can use City Hall for meetings

Who says local government leaders can’t get along?

Douglas County commissioners are welcome to hold meetings at the Alexandria City Hall Council Chambers this summer.

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The commissioners won’t be able to hold their meetings at the courthouse soon because of a remodeling project.

At its meeting Tuesday night, city council members unanimously agreed to let the commissioners use their meeting room starting this August and continuing through October or beyond, depending on construction timelines.

County meetings will take place at usual times, the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 9 a.m.


In other action, the council:

•Tabled awarding bids for the waterline expansion project in the phase four, part two orderly annexation area. The low bid came in at $3.99 million, much higher than the city’s estimate of just over $3 million. Staff was directed to study the financial impact of proceeding with the project this year. The city may delay the project until 2015. In related action, the council amended a resolution to extend the contract award deadline for the waterline extension until May 2015.

•Approved a special event permit for the Vikingland Band Festival on June 29. The event will take place on Broadway, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. More than 15,000 are expected to attend. Because of road construction, the parade staging areas will move to the west side of Broadway and center around Sixth Avenue. The parade will start at the intersection of Sixth and Broadway. Five police officers and eight to 10 sheriff’s posse members will assist with traffic.

•Approved a special event permit for the Faith Rose 5K Run/Walk that will raise awareness of infant and pregnancy loss. It was approved on the condition that organizers obtain liability insurance. It will take place Saturday, October 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Between 50 and 250 people are expected. The event will start at City Park, go 1.6 miles and turn around, ending at City Park. Maria and Justin Lopau of Alexandria organized the event after their daughter, Faith Rose, died in an emergency C-section at the Douglas County Hospital. Proceeds will benefit the Alexandria support group, Mothers In Sympathy and Support (MISS).

•Accepted a low bid from Central Specialties of Alexandria to overlay four local streets this summer, including South L’Homme Dieu Drive, Parkside Road, Van Dyke Road and Edgewater Drive. Central Specialties will do the work for $164,200. The project will be financed using state aid maintenance funds and $3,200 from the city’s capital improvement fund. Two other overlays, Bridgeport Lane and Karnis Drive, are not going forward because of a lack of funds.

•Waived city ordinances regulating water treatment standards and water ponds in order to reconstruct 50th Avenue between South Broadway and the Soo Line Railroad. Alternative water treatment methods will be used to reduce the impact the project will have on adjacent wetland areas. This includes a baffled sump treatment system that will remove suspended solid material and phosphorus. A similar system is in place near Dakota Street.

•Accepted a petition for annexation from three property owners along Meadow Lane and Donna Drive who want city water.: Chad Bartholomew and Jerry and Rose Hansen. The council approved a first reading of an ordinance to annex their property, which consists of 1.22 acres in LaGrand Township, and a nearby 0.25-acre parcel owned by Bob Close. The township board didn’t object.

•Gave preliminary approval to annexing a 0.66-acre parcel of land along Bay Lane in Carlos Township owned by Michael and Mary Thompson. The boundary line between the city and the township goes through their house.

•Agreed to act as a sponsor for a $350,000 grant application the owner of the Lakewood Apartments is seeking through the Small Cities Development Program. The money would fix up three apartment buildings, built in 1978 on Kenwood Drive, to allow 53 units of income-restricted housing and 10 units of market rate housing. The owner is a non-profit, private agency, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. It plans to replace flooring, roofing, walls, doors and windows on some units. The city will be reimbursed for administrative or legal costs it might incur. Total cost is estimated at $7.3 million.

•Accepted a petition from two property owners on 22nd Avenue East for sanitary sewer, submitted by the Russell Johnson Trust and Wayside Farms. The city will prepare an engineering report on the project’s feasibility and how costs could be assessed. Owners agreed to pay the full costs of improving the street, roughly estimated at $75,000.

•Approved a request from Viking Plaza Associates to vacate a platted public common access area southeast of Highway 29. It was originally intended to provide access to lots on the westerly edge of the subdivision because they couldn’t be accessed from Highway 29. The area has since been realigned and will now become part of a parking lot for a new building, which will house Q’Doba and Dollar Tree.

See Wednesday’s paper for more council news.

•Rescinded the appointment of John Lervick as assistant city attorney. Lervick is retiring from practicing law on June 30, 2014. In a letter to the council, Lervick said it was a pleasure to have served with city administrators Arlan Johnson, Jim Taddei and Marty Schultz, along with many other city employees, council members and seven different mayors during his 39 and a half years of service.

•Defeated a motion to make walkway modifications, a cut-through, in the reconstructed city parking lot on Seventh Avenue and have the city absorb the $1,249 cost. Jensen made the motion, saying that the lot design was not convenient for residents living in a nearby building because it forced them to walk around several vehicles. Dave Benson, who represents the ward the parking lot is in, said that he hasn’t received a single complaint about the lot. Council member Roger Thalman said that paying for a cut-through just to benefit nine residents was a frivolous expense. Batesole called the lot a design flaw disaster. Batesole and Jensen voted for the motion; Benson, Thalman and Miller opposed it.

•Issued the following licenses: charitable gambling – Alexandria Senior Center for bingo and raffles on July 24, West Central Food and Beverage Association for a raffle at Broadway Ballroom on October 18; excavating – C and L Excavating of St. Joseph, D. Carlson Plumbing and Excavating of Menahga; peddler’s – The Country Shop of New London; and heating – Tim’s Heating and Refrigeration of New York Mills.t

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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