Big plans unveiled for Lake Geneva Christian CenterA multi-phased, 20-year plan for major improvements at Lake Geneva Christian Center received the Alexandria City Council's blessing Monday night.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
A multi-phased, 20-year plan for major improvements at Lake Geneva Christian Center received the Alexandria City Council's blessing Monday night.
The council voted 5-0 to approve a conditional use permit for a planned unit development at the site.
The first phase of the project, set to begin this August, calls for the construction of a new dining hall and kitchen with an 18,900-square-foot footprint.
A concrete terrace on the shoreline and an outdoor malt shop or concession building known as "Oasis" will be removed and replaced with five levels of terraces and more green space.
The south entrance drive into the camp will be reconfigured to allow for service vehicles to enter and leave from the same access point.
The center has raised enough money to complete phase one, according to City Planner Mike Weber. Work on the next two phases will progress as more money is raised.
The second phase of the project would remove cabins and redesign inner roads. Paved walking paths would be installed. Plans also call for an indoor swimming pool.
The third and final phase of the project calls to remove the old tabernacle building; construct inner roads to link the center's recreational vehicle site with the RV sites from the former Hillcrest RV Park; and construct a 12,000 square foot maintenance building on the west campus. A new cemetery may also be built across the road.
Weber said it was helpful for the city to know about the entire scope of the project well ahead of time. He described the plan as a "very nice project for the neighborhood" as well as for the developer and the city.
The center's plan was just one of many items on the agenda of Monday's 45-minute meeting. In other action, the council:
--Hired Marty Schultz, assistant city planner, as assistant city administrator, a new position.
City officials interviewed five candidates for the job and unanimously recommended Schultz. He will begin his new duties on June 2 and receive a starting salary of $4,508 a month.
The city will now begin a search to find someone to replace Schultz in the planning department.
In a related action, the council approved revisions in city job descriptions. Personnel responsibilities were deleted from the assistant city administrator position and added to the assistant city planner/administrative aide position.
--Welcomed back city council member Elroy Frank, who returned to the council chambers following a kidney transplant operation in late February.
--Accepted a bid of $102,015 to buy a bucket truck from ABM for Alexandria Light and Power.
--Agreed to provide traffic control for the second annual "Awake the Lakes" Habitat for Humanity Motorcycle Ride on Sunday, May 25.
The owners of the Depot agreed to donate the use of their parking lot and facilities, noted organizer Doug Garin.
Organizers are hoping to draw at least 50 motorcycle drivers who will gather at the Depot at noon and depart at 1 p.m. Traffic control is needed at 3rd and Broadway. Drivers will proceed to County Road 22, County Road 82, Highway 27 and McKay Avenue.
--Accepted a letter from Douglas County Commissioner Bev Bales regarding a proposed site for a new jail and law enforcement center – the county public works and city park department property on 3rd Avenue West.
Bales thanked the city for sending a letter of support to the county board chair Dan Olson.
"It certainly looks like a great workable plan and I commend you, Rick [Wyffels, police chief] and Troy [Wolbersen, sheriff] for the idea," Bales wrote. "I look forward to a cooperative solution which will save millions of dollars for the taxpayers."
--Heard concerns from Alexandria resident Vince Wogan about traffic safety in the city.
Wogan said that in his opinion, there is a total disregard for traffic laws in and around Alexandria. He said drivers are running red lights, running stop signs, passing on the right, not signaling and not yielding to pedestrians.
He said drivers are getting by with it because the city has a reputation of "being soft" about enforcing traffic laws. He said that too many warnings are being issued instead of tickets because the courts are too back-logged to handle more written citations.
"We need a traffic court system along with our regular court system," Wogan said.
Wogan also had concerns about the bright flashing neon signs at some intersections, such as the one on 3rd and Nokomis and 10th and Broadway. He said the signs are distracting to drivers.
Wogan challenged the city to address the traffic problems with all the resources it has.
Mayor Dan Ness said the city will take Wogan's points under advisement and pass along his letter of concern to the Alexandria police chief.
--Agreed to Viking Speedway's request to start its 2008 racing season with a "test and tune" session on Friday, May 2. Bad weather has delayed the start of the season for the last two weekends.
--Approved a tax abatement application from Hocum Development. The company is proposing to build a 9,600-square-foot office-retail facility behind Jiffy Lube behind Stub's Marine and Fastenal near Highway 29 South.
The abatement – a maximum amount of $45,000 over eight years – will allow the company to relocate a storm water easement that currently divides the property, making it unbuildable in its present state.
--Approved a conditional use permit for State Bank and Trust to allow an employee-only parking lot in a residential zone.
The 14-space lot will be accessible from the alley east of the bank.
It was approved with five conditions – a separate sign permit is required, screening is required, exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from the street, a final drainage plan must be approved by the city engineer and final fencing must be approved according to city code.
--Tabled a subdivision application from Lakes Area Recreation Association (LARA) to replat unplatted property north of County Road 82 – the site of a new Alexandria Area YMCA.
LARA requested the delay last Friday. During a planning commission meeting to consider the application several questions arose about the access road to the new facility.
The city also extended the review time of the application for another 60 days.
--Tabled a conditional use and zoning district amendment application from William Donner. He is planning to build a motor fuel station and car/truck wash at 3063 Evergreen Lane SW, which is zoned for general business.
Donner requested the delay. The city also agreed to extend the public review period for another 60 days.
--Agreed to give Steve Tilleskjor more time to comply with the conditional use permit he received on February 26, 2007.
The city issued the permit with the condition that Tilleskjor build a fence at his property at 44 Glenn Road NW to screen the outdoor storage of materials and equipment at Alexandria Plumbing and Heating.
Tilleskjor instead built a chain link fence.
He has until May 30, 2008 to build a solid wood fence that is in compliance or the city will revoke the permit.
--Approved a construction, drainage and utility easement with three property owners to ease flooding problems at the Alexandria Technical College.
A 20-foot-wide permanent easement and a 50-foot-wide temporary easement will allow the city to build a storm water pipe under Nokomis Street.
In exchange for the easement, the ATC agreed to pay the property owners $17,000 – $11,333 to Lee and Judy Backhaus, $2,883 to Todd and Kristina Steffel, and $2,883 to Robert and Mary Hoxtell.
--Approved a feasibility study to make improvements on Evergreen Lane, from its intersection with County Road 45 to 850 feet east.
The cost to construct a new 44-foot wide urban road with curb and gutter was estimated at $360,600. The city's share would amount to just under $72,000. The rest would be assessed to the benefiting property owners, which would include the owners of a proposed new truck stop in that area.
--Reviewed – but did not yet accept – the bids for a new road, 10th Avenue East, which will serve the new elementary school that's being built.
The city received a high amount of bids, 16, for the project and 14 were less than the city's estimate, noted City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven.
The low bid from Mark Lee Excavating came in at $258,294 – well under the estimated cost of $360,000.
"If there is a silver lining to the economy lately, it is this – we're getting good bids," Schoonhoven told the council.
The city held off from accepting the bid until the school district has a chance to review it. The city has 60 days to accept the bid.
--Called for bids to resurface Emerson Street – the road that runs between Kmart and Stub's Marine.
Bids for the eight-block section of road will be opened May 29 and the project could be completed this summer.
--Was informed that a joint meeting with Alexandria Light and Power has been set for May 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Broadway Ballroom.
--Was informed that the League of Minnesota Cities is seeking nominations to fill vacancies on its board of directors.
--Was informed by Mayor Dan Ness that the Minnesota Mayors Association will hold its annual meeting in Alexandria this weekend. More than 80 mayors and 14 vendors will gather at Arrowwood.
They will also be given a tour of Alexandria that will include stops at the Alexandria Technical College, Douglas County Hospital, the city's industrial park area, around the lakes and a stop at Carlos Creek Winery.
--Approved the following licenses – fireworks for Wal-Mart, and excavating for Kraemer Trucking and Excavating.