Weather Forecast


More bids locked in for new police station

Another round of bids - adding up to nearly $1.6 million - was approved for the new Alexandria police station.

The Alexandria City Council approved 17 construction bids Monday night, one week after approving seven other bids amounting to $1.9 million.

The police station, estimated to cost $5.2 million, is being built along 3rd Avenue West. When it's complete, the police department will move out of the space it's leasing from the county in the Law Enforcement Center on Fillmore Street.

The bids accepted so far put the project about $230,000 over budget but the city's construction management firm, ORB Management, expects to reduce costs in other expenditures.

Of the 24 bids approved, 13 came from Alexandria-based companies and all but two are from outstate companies, according to ORB Management.

The latest bids, the lowest ones submitted in their categories, include:

•Specialties - $177,503 from Jerome Getz Construction.

•Membrane roofing - $166,680 from Buttweiler's Do-All, Inc.

•Cold-formed metal framing - $162,742 from Fergus Drywall.

•Aluminum storefront, glazing and windows - $162,225 from Alex Glass and Glazing.

•Flooring - $162,225 from Commercial Flooring Services, LLC.

•Metal wall panels - $134,000 from Progressive Building Systems, Ltd.

•Exterior improvements - $123,755 from Mark Lee Excavating.

•Rough carpentry - $102,600 from Srock Construction.

•Tile - $79,500 from McArthur Tile.

•Sectional steel overhead doors - $65,296 from Viking Garage Door.

•Specialty ceilings - $59,800 from Central Suspensions, Inc.

•Vinyl wall covering and painting - $41,800 from Finishes by Holt.

•Thermal insulation and protection - $40,831 from Intex Insulating.

•Fire suppression - $36,600 - from Brother's Fire Protection.

•Landscaping - $29,494 from Colorful Seasons Garden Center.

•Curb and gutter - $19,622 from MN-Kota Concrete.

•Sealants and caulking - $11,980 from Ellenson Caulking, LLC.

The final five bid packages are expected to be considered at the next council meeting.

Other topics that highlighted Monday's meeting included a new pedestrian crossing on 3rd Avenue, tattoo regulations, roof improvements at the airport, a police department report, and a day set aside to honor a former football/baseball coach.

Safer crossing at 3rd Avenue and Jefferson

The council:

•Supported a plan to make 3rd Avenue safer to cross for pedestrians.

The idea came from the Douglas County Safe Communities Coalition and Douglas County Active Living.

A new "pedestrian refuge island" would be installed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Jefferson.

The council considered the plan back in May and referred it to its highway committee, which recommended the idea.

Although all six intersections on 3rd Avenue between Broadway and Nokomis have crosswalks, drivers generally ignore them.

The island would be built on the western approach of the 3rd Avenue and Jefferson Street intersection within the center turn-lane, just east of the Holiday gas station.

Instead of trying to cross more than 70 feet of busy street all at once, pedestrians would only have to go 30 feet to reach the island and then walk across another 30-foot section of crosswalk after that.

In addition, pedestrians would only have to navigate traffic in a single direction at a time.

The crosswalk would be painted bright red and include a pedestrian-activated signal to alert drivers.

The new configuration wouldn't allow east-bound traffic on 3rd Avenue to turn left onto Jefferson Street.

Preliminary cost estimates for Alternative 1 range from about $23,000 to $99,000. Most of the cost, around $80,000, would be for the new pedestrian alert signal system - a High-intensity Activated crossWalK, known as "HAWK," which could be added at a later date.

No city funding has been requested at this time.

The council approved the plan on a 4-0 vote. Council member Owen Miller recused himself from the discussion and voting because he owns a business near the intersection.

Mayor Dan Ness noted that some people feel an enhanced pedestrian crossing would work better at Kenwood and 3rd Avenue because it would provide better access to the trail.

Airport building

to get new roof

•Accepted a bid of $201,177 from Srock Construction of Alexandria to replace the roof at the Alexandria airport's arrival/departure building.

Ninety-five percent of the project's cost is being funded through federal grants.

City gets out of

regulating tattoos

•Agreed to turn over the regulation of technicians and businesses performing body art procedures, such as tattoos and piercings, to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Legislature enacted a law that puts the state in charge of regulating and enforcing the procedures, effective in 2011.

The council approved a preliminary measure to rescind its tattoo ordinance so the city will no longer by responsible for licensing and regulating those businesses.

Alexandria helps

Morris with

funding transfer

•Agreed to help the city of Morris with a funding transfer request.

Morris is at risk of losing $74,000 of its Federal Aviation Administration funding for improvements at its airport because the projects are not yet completed.

One option Morris has is to temporarily transfer the funds to the city of Alexandria and then draw upon them at a future date, according to City Administrator Jim Taddei.

He described it as a procedural maneuver by the city of Morris to protect the funds so they can be used at a later date.

Morris will have up to three years to withdraw the funds.

New police

officer hired

•Hired Jason Rosha as a police officer as recommended by Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels.

Rosha will receive a base monthly salary of $3,716, which is consistent with the agreement the city has with the law enforcement union for a first-year officer's pay.

Chief Wyffels gave the oath of office to Rosha at the council meeting. His duties start on August 16.

Rosha told that council that he and his wife, Lindsey, and their two children are excited to become part of the Alexandria community.

•Listened to an annual report from Chief Wyffels about the police department's accomplishments and challenges. Read Friday's Echo Press for details.

Former coach

gets his day

•Proclaimed August 13 as "Charlie Basch Day" in Alexandria.

A standout high school athlete in football, basketball and baseball, Basch was an all-conference football halfback at North Dakota State in 1946, drafted by the Boston Braves in 1947 and played Class C baseball in Fort Lauderdale.

Basch played for the Alexandria Clippers baseball team after graduating from Concordia College and eventually became the team manager.

He was a science teacher and coach at Alexandria High School in 1954 and eventually became the head football coach and baseball coach. In 1959, his football team was undefeated.

He left Alexandria in 1964 to join the faculty at St. Cloud State University.

Street department

vacancy to be filled

•Agreed to fill a vacancy within the street department.

Mike Gould, a full-time employee who has worked for the city for 24 years, is retiring, according to Bryan Bjorgaard, public works coordinator.

Even with the city's growth and additional streets added through annexation, the number of street department employees has remained at 12 since the early 1970s, Bjorgaard said.

Other odds and ends

•Ordered a feasibility report to study the possibility of extending sanitary sewer to 1204 Geneva Road.

A representative for the estate of Mary E. Miller requested the extension to help sell the property.

•Agreed to rezone areas along Fillmore, Elm and Douglas Street, between 7th and 9th Avenue, to allow a non-residential planned unit development - an expanded Douglas County Courthouse.

The council approved a preliminary reading of this action at a meeting last month.

•Agreed to subordinate loans for two property owners in The Trails development on their existing City Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) mortgages.

The property owners, Laurel Gripne and Adelia Stumpf, are both refinancing their loans to obtain lower financing costs, according to Taddei.

•Was informed that the city's contribution to its volunteer firefighters' relief association will amount to $109,588 in 2011, which is slightly below the $112,880 it contributed this year.

About half of the city's contribution will come from money the city receives through its fire protection contracts with surrounding townships, Taddei said.

The annual benefit for each firefighter remains the same - $6,375.

•Agreed to hire LarsonAllen to prepare the city's 2011 audit. The fee will stay the same - $45,100.

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.  
(320) 763-1236