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City approves requests for Ice Fishing Challenge

Organizers of the 2011 Ice Fishing Challenge in Alexandria received the city's approval for two requests - to close a road and use a park.

The council approved both requests at its September 27 meeting after tabling the issue at a previous meeting.

The Sertoma Club and the Viking Sportsmen made the requests because they are changing the location of the February 12, 2011 event. Participants will be ice fishing on Lake Agnes instead of Lake L'Homme Dieu.

Edward Reif, president of the Sertoma Club, asked for the council's permission to use Big Ole Central Park for handicapped and emergency vehicle parking.

He also requested the city to close a portion of Agnes Boulevard, from the Central Lakes Trail behind Depot Express to Edgewater Drive, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the tournament. This will stop people from driving vehicles onto Lake Agnes or to park along the narrow strip of road.

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 had some concerns about closing Agnes Boulevard and that's why the request was tabled before. Reif has since talked to the Alexandria Police Department about the road being closed and received the go-ahead.

The event's location is being switched to try to boost participation, make the lake access more convenient and to help the downtown area, Reif said.

Agnes is regarded as a trophy bass lake.

Participants will park at the fairgrounds and buses will shuttle them to the tournament.

"This is exciting to bring this to businesses downtown," said council member Sara Carlson, adding that her only concern was to make sure that residents living in the area are informed beforehand of the road being closed.

Reif said the organizers were informing everyone of the changes and will be getting the word out about the event.

Signs will also be posted well in advance of where the road is closed, he said.

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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