Ice Fishing Challenge seeks council action in changing event's locationAnglers competing in Alexandria’s Ice Fishing Challenge will have a change of scenery next year.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Anglers competing in Alexandria’s Ice Fishing Challenge will have a change of scenery next year.
They’ll be fishing on Lake Agnes instead of Lake L’Homme Dieu.
Edward Reif, president of the Sertoma Club, which sponsors the event along with the Viking Sportsmen, told the Alexandria City Council about the change at its September 13 meeting.
Reif made two requests – to use Big Ole Central Park on February 12, 2011 for the 11th annual Ice Fishing Challenge and to close a portion of Agnes Boulevard that day to stop people from driving vehicles onto Lake Agnes or to park along the narrow strip of road.
The road would be closed from the Central Lakes Trail behind Depot Express to Edgewater Drive from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the tournament.
Reif said that the clubs would manage the main access to the lake and control the vehicle traffic on the ice during the tournament.
Council members didn’t have a problem with organizers using Big Ole Central Park for handicapped and emergency vehicle parking but they did raise several questions about closing Agnes Boulevard and why the venue was being switched to Lake Agnes.
Reif explained that Agnes is regarded as a trophy bass lake and could help boost participation in the tournament. He said that having the event take place in the downtown area is also good for local businesses.
Participants, Reif said, will park at the fairgrounds and buses will shuttle them to the tournament. He said that’s more convenient than how it was done previously, with participants parking in fields and riding in a hayrack to the tournament’s fishing area, which was located far from shore.
Council member Dave Benson said that although it appeared that organizers had “done their homework” in selecting a new venue, he predicted the change could cause headaches.
Council member Cindy Bigger was concerned how the closed road would affect residents and businesses in the area. She advised the organizers to contact all those individuals about the change. “You must make nice with those people,” she said.
Council member Elroy Frank was worried that fishermen would fill up the parking lots of businesses in the area, leaving no room for their customers to park.
Council member Sara Carlson suggested that instead of shutting down the road completely, it may be better to open it to through-traffic so residents could get to their homes. She added that city residents are taxpayers and shouldn’t be inconvenienced.
Council member Owen Miller suggested tabling the matter to allow the city’s park board to review the Big Ole Central Park request and to give organizers more time to look into the city’s concerns about closing Agnes Boulevard.
His motion was unanimously approved.