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Signs send mixed messages on population

Echo Press photo by Heather Huwe A sign along Highway 29 South indicates that Alexandria's population is 10,165. It hasn't been updated for awhile and is expected to be changed after the census is completed.1 / 2
Echo Press photo by Tara Bitzan Driving into Alexandria from the northeast, on McKay Avenue, travelers are greeted with this sign showing the city's population at 12,415, based on fairly current projections.2 / 2

Editor's note: The following is part of an Echo Press feature, "You Asked." Readers are invited to send the newspaper a simple question and we'll try to get to the bottom of it.

A reader asked: Whatever direction you enter Alexandria, the population number is different on each road. Why is that?

Depending on which road travelers enter, it does appear as if the population changes. Some signs put Alexandria's population at 12,415. Others place it at 10,165.

According to Mike Weber, Alexandria city planner, the city's most current population is 12,415.

Why the difference on the road signs? Weber said this is due to who is in charge of updating the signs.

City and county roads are updated more often because they are controlled locally. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has control of signs for state highways, federal roads, and interstate signs.

This is why these signs are not updated to the 12,415 population.

Populations signs are not the biggest concern of the Minnesota Department of Transportation said Weber.

Signs controlled by Minnesota Department of Transportation will be updated after the census is complete, in about a year and a half, according to Weber.

As Alexandria's population has grown so has the amount of land it occupies.

According to Weber's figures, the city's land area grew by 1,499.99 acres in 2009 through annexation - a 16.7 percent increase.

Alexandria's total land area is now 10,462 acres - approximately 16.35 square miles.

Readers may send their "You Asked" question to Editor Al Edenloff, Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308, fax it to (320) 763-3258, e-mail to or drop it off at 225 7th Avenue East.