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Trailhead project gets grant

Imagine a new trailhead to the Central Lakes Trail in Alexandria with a covered kiosk, maps and information about the community.

You don't have to imagine it - it will soon be in place, thanks to a grant from Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation.

It awarded an $8,700 grant to Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) to build a trailhead on the Central Lakes Trails at Big Ole Central Park.

The ATCC teamed up with the Alexandria Area Stewards, Central Lakes Trails, the city of Alexandria, Douglas County Parks, Alexandria Hotels and Hospitality, CVB, and Active Living Alexandria to submit the application to Lowe's for a community improvement grant.

As part of the application, the college laid out a plan to have current students who participate in SkillsUSA to build the project.

"We want this project to be the model for other communities on the trail. It will greet travelers and provide a gateway to the community," said Tam Bukowski, director of safety and security at ATCC.

The project, she added, represents partnership at its best. "It's a win-win for everyone," she said. "The community receives a welcoming access point for the trail travelers to visit Alexandria. Additionally, students in the carpentry, concrete mason, and mechanical drafting, design, and engineering programs at ATCC will participate in a real construction project that represents many entities' interest."

Bukowski said the project is the kind of effort that the SkillsUSA program promotes to educate tomorrow's workforce. "The partners of this project are grateful to Lowe's for supporting technical education and this community investment," she said.

"The grant represents Lowe's commitment to career and technical education," said Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "By supporting schools like ATCC, we believe we are contributing to a cause that's important to our customers and employees by helping provide improved learning environments and build stronger communities."


SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force.

SkillsUSA helps high school and college students enrolled in career and technical education programs to excel by teaching employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical and service occupations skills.

The association's annual membership exceeds 300,000 students and instructors in more than 3,800 schools and colleges in every state, three territories and the District of Columbia.

ATCC has more than 400 students who currently participate in SkillsUSA. For more information, visit


Lowe's supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects.

The company's signature education grant program, Lowe's Toolbox for Education, has donated nearly $5 million in grants to K-12 public schools every year since its inception in 2006.

"Lowe's Heroes" employee volunteers support local community projects and its national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross.

In 2010, Lowe's and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $30 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. To learn more, visit

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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