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What will happen to Legion building?

Al Edenloff | Echo Press The old American Legion building at 817 Fillmore Street was last used as a school for the Runestone Area Education District. Viking Towers as in the background.

What does the future hold for the old American Legion building at 817 Fillmore Street in Alexandria?

The Alexandria City Council is prepared for possible scenarios, just in case.

The city owns the land at 817 Fillmore but not the building. It had a lease agreement with the American Legion dating back to 1947. The Legion was allowed to lease the land from the city for a nominal cost, $1 a year.

After the Legion closed, the Runestone Area Education District (RAED) purchased the building and continued the lease agreement for the land.

RAED has since moved to another location and the building, which has been prone to flooding, is sitting empty.

RAED recently received an offer on the building and last month it asked the city if it would extend the lease, which is set to expire in 2035, an additional 15 years, to 2050. The undisclosed potential buyer wanted the longer lease.

After initially referring it to the city attorney, the council considered the lease extension again at its November 8 meeting. Not long into the discussion, however, City Planner Mike Weber informed the council that the potential buyer of the RAED building has since withdrawn the offer.

The council decided to set a policy about what to do with the land if any interested parties come forward in the future. It first passed a motion to not extend the lease beyond the year 2035. On that date, the land at 817 Fillmore Street and any buildings on it will revert back to the city.

It also passed a motion that if another entity requests to lease the land in the future, the city will renegotiate the lease at fair market rent. In other words, the $1 a year lease arrangement will become a thing of the past.

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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