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Date changes for party on Broadway

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News Alexandria, 56308
Echo Press
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Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

The date for a once-in-a-lifetime event on Alexandria’s Broadway has been changed to August 1.

Delays in the Broadway reconstruction project pushed back the completion date for surfacing the road.

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As a result, organizers of “Broadway’s Party in the Street” requested changing the date of their event at Monday’s Alexandria City Council meeting and the council agreed.

The party is a way to showcase Broadway's improvements to the public, celebrate the project's progress and have some fun, said James Feist with Alexandria Hotel and Hospitality, which applied for the special event permit.

Presented by the Downtown Merchants Association, the party will run from 2 to 11 p.m. and include a street fair, dance and beer garden. A children’s zone will be set up to offer fun and games for the younger crowd.

There will also be a car show, ice cream, food from local eateries, a bean bag tournament, theatrical street performances and live music.

Having such a full slate of activities on a state highway is a rare opportunity, noted Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson. The state agreed to it because a big chunk of Broadway will be closed anyway because of the reconstruction.

Work on the section where the party will take place, between Fourth and Sixth Street, is expected to be completed in time for the event.

About 1,000 people are expected to attend.

Two other special event permits were approved at Monday night’s council meeting:

--Alexandria Area Arts Association’s Art in the Park on July 26-27 at City Park. A crowd of 25,000 is expected to browse among 116 vendors and 160 booths while enjoying food and entertainment. Police will assist with traffic control and no parking will be allowed along City Park Road.

--Zion Lutheran Church’s Vacation Bible School, which uses a playground that will temporarily block off Lake Street between Third and Fourth Avenues on August 4-8 from 8 a.m. to noon.

WATERLINE BID APPROVED, TWO OTHERS REJECTED

The council accepted a bid of $3.06 million from Northdale Construction Company of Albertville for the phase four, part two waterline extension project in the newly annexed area in Alexandria Township and a paving project on South L'Homme Dieu Drive.

The project was rebid after the bids came in well over the estimate. This time around, the low bid was well under the city's estimate of $3.73 million.

The South L’Homme Dieu Drive project, which comprised $639,398 of the bid, is being paid 100 percent by state aid funds.

The waterline project, which accounted for $2.42 million of the total bid, is an assessment project and single-family properties will pay $6,500. The city plans to issue bonds for its share of the project.

Both projects will be completed next summer.

Two other projects that were initially included in the bid were rejected. The bid to extend sanitary sewer to a small portion of Kenwood Drive came in at $206,319, higher than the estimate of $185,231, and the bid to pave and improve drainage on Boys Avenue came in at $76,832, also more than the estimate of $67,625.

LIQUOR LICENSE CHANGES

The council enacted changes in the city code for beer and liquor licensing, making it easier for clubs to apply for a regular liquor license instead of a club liquor license.

For decades, the clubs have been operating under annual $500 club liquor licenses, which are much cheaper than the $4,500 on-sale liquor licenses for restaurants. The clubs also routinely serve drinks to non-members, even though state law requires clubs to serve only members and bona fide guests, and city ordinances state that only club members can be served.

Clubs also don’t have to meet a requirement that Alexandria restaurants must meet – having at least 55 percent of their gross revenues derived from food.

The different set of rules, established back in 1987, raised enough concerns lately that the city decided to look into the issue. City leaders, realizing that it wasn’t realistic to expect the clubs to pay much more for a regular on-sale license and to meet the food rules, have been searching for a compromise that would be fair to restaurants and clubs.

The changes approved Monday are the same ones proposed last month.

It reduces the regular on-sale liquor license to $3,600 for everyone. The proposed amendment also eases the food ratio requirement by allowing liquor to account for up to 65 percent of the gross revenues from food and beverages. The changes delete a provision that defines restaurants as being open five days per week and serving food during lunch and dinner hours.

The revisions state that an organization holding a club license can only serve liquor to its members and bona fide guests.

Clubs have the option of pursuing the new on-sale license or retaining their club license, noted City Administrator Marty Schultz.

The new rules take effect on January 1, 2015.

VACANCY IN CHARTER COMMISSION

Bill Jewett, a member of the Alexandria Charter Commission passed away on July 1 from melanoma cancer. The council authorized staff to advertize the vacancy.

Jewett also served on the planning commission in the past. City Administrator Marty Schultz noted his contributions to the city will be remembered and appreciated.

AIRPORT MAINTENANCE

The council approved an agreement with MnDOT that provides funding for maintenance and operational activities at the airport. For 2014-2015, the annual grant was expected to total $58,505. The Legislature, however, provided an additional $4 million to MnDOT’s Office of Aeronautics, which inceased the grant to $64,356.

ANNEXATIONS APPROVED

Three annexation requests received final approval – Westwood Drive (one parcel), Bay Lane (one parcel) and Meadow Lane/Donna Drive (two parcels).

Also, another annexation request received preliminary approval – three parcels along Tabbert Road owned by Steve and Kathy Dockham, Thomas and Carol Chorley, and Robert and Lorraine Satrom.

BASEBALL TRYOUTS

The council agreed to allow the Minnesota Blizzard Northwest Baseball Academy to hold “elite team tryouts” at Knute Nelson Ballpark on July 21-23.

The tryouts, for those aged 10 to 18, are being scheduled through the Alexandria Blue Anchors and according to its contract with the city, the team must get permission from the council to hold events other than regular season and playoff games.

Athletes will try out for two different programs – an elite program that will allow those making the team to travel to national tournaments throughout the country, and a fall baseball program that will provide participants with two local tournaments.

The academy agreed to pay the city $50 an hour to use the field from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the three-day tryouts, a total of $1,200.

PREPARING FOR THE PRIMARY

Election judges were appointed for the primary election on Tuesday, August 12.

Forty-five judges were appointed. The council also designated seven polling places that include Lake Community Church, Living Water Church, New Life Christian Church, Cornerstone Church and Alexandria City Hall. These are the same seven sites that were used in the 2012 election.

EXCESS RIGHT OF WAY SOLD

The council agreed to sell 16,380 feet of excess right-of-way along the east side of Aga Drive to the Alexandria Clinic for $15,000. The clinic plans to use the land to expand its parking lot this summer.

SAND AND SALT

The council agreed to continue its sand/salt storage building agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Douglas County also used the building, which is located at 1405 34th Avenue West.

LICENSES ISSUED

The council issued the following licenses: charitable gambling – Chain of Lakes Ducks Unlimited for a September 12 event at the Broadway Ballroom; massage therapy – Amber Knick; heating – Precise Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning of St. Joseph, and All Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning of Ottertail.

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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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