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Signs of spring pop up at council meeting

Spring was in the air at Monday night's Alexandria City Council meeting.

Council members took action on a new concession area for baseball games at Knute Nelson Field, the "Awake the Lakes" festival, a first-ever half-marathon race and a street improvement project.

New concession area

The council agreed to amend the city's lease agreement with the Alexandria Beetles to include a new concession area.

A light-brown storage building near the first base line at Knute Nelson Field is being converted into a concession facility.

The Beetles plan to name it "Gardonville Lodge" and use it during its 35 home games as a hospitality deck, just like the Tastefully Simple Terrace, Hilltop Lumber Loft, Strike Zone and VIP Suite.

Fans pay a special price to use the decks, which includes a game ticket, food, beverages and beer (for those 21 and older).

The Lodge would be separated from the nearby Tastefully Simple Terrace and offer food and beverages for fans sitting inside and outside. The park board must approve the remodeling project.

The Alexandria Youth Baseball Association (AYBA) would use the Lodge as a traditional concession area with direct sales of only pop and packaged goods. This includes American Legion, VFW, and Alexandria high school games. The Beetles reserve the right to negotiate with the AYBA whether other non-league games may use the concession stand.

At its March 8 meeting, the council tabled the concession stand leasing changes until it could clarify how beer sales would be handled.

The following conditions were attached to the Beetles' on-sale beer license and also approved Monday: The license is effective May 15 to August 21, 2010; sales are permitted only on dates when the Northwoods Baseball League (the Beetles' league) games are scheduled; beer sales may start not more than one hour before a game starts and must end by the end of the 8th inning; the Beetles must implement and enforce the beer sales with on-site security personnel and a monitoring system approved by the police chief; beer consumption is limited to persons in the designated bleacher, grandstand and hospitality areas.

Under the current terms of the lease, Alexandria will receive $330 per game from the Beetles for using the stadium.

Half-marathon race

The council approved plans for the first-ever "Lakes Area EnduRUNce" half-marathon and 5K on May 14-15.

The event is a fundraiser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and an outreach effort of Lake Community Church.

Organizers plan to offer a 13.1 miles competitive half-marathon on Saturday as well as a fun 5K walk/run on Friday for those who are looking for a less competitive experience, according to Melissa Moore, coordinator.

The half-marathon will take place in east Alexandria, using the Central Lakes Trail near Highway 27, Birch Avenue, Geneva Road, County Road 73 and County Road 9.

The 5K course in northwest Alexandria will use County Road 44, Ridgewood Drive, South Darling Drive, Wallace Street, Woodcrest Road, Donna Drive and West Meadow Lane.

Runners and walkers will have a chance to win prizes in their age categories and for participating.

A children's race and spaghetti feast are also planned, Moore said.

One of the goals is to bring families into Alexandria for a weekend, Moore said. Organizers are hoping to draw between 100 and 300 runners for the half-marathon and several hundred more for the 5K.

Awake the Lakes

Coni McKay, executive director of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, received the council's permission to temporarily close 2nd Avenue from Kenwood Street to Broadway to accommodate the annual "Awake the Lakes" over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31.

The approval hinges on permission from the park board, street department and police.

The Chamber is partnering with community groups and anticipates holding similar activities as past years, including a rib fest, street dance, car show, musical entertainment and a beer garden.

Existing Memorial Day weekend events will also be part of the celebration, including a City Park church service, Habitat for Humanity's Motorcycle Ride and the Memorial Day parade on Monday.

Improvement on Elm St.

Roadwork will take place on Elm Street, between 11th and 12th Avenue, soon.

The council agreed to reconstruct the road with new curb and gutter, widening it to 36 feet - five and a half feet wider than it is now - and put in new eight-inch diameter watermain with new one-inch diameter water services to each lot.

The work will include removing and repairing existing driveways in the one-block area to match the new paved surface. Existing valves and manholes will also be readjusted, along with turf restoration.

Sidewalks will also be replaced, where needed, and the $24,099 estimated cost would be split 50-50 between the city and eight property owners, based on frontage. The assessments, which vary from $1,004 to $2,008, may be spread over 10 years at an interest rate of 7 percent.

The total cost of the project, with the sidewalks included, is estimated to cost about $98,000. The city and Alexandria Light and Power will cover the costs of the street and water improvements.

For other action, see Friday's Echo Press.

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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