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Two city projects top $10 million

Two big projects totaling more than $10 million came before the Alexandria City Council Monday night.

Although there were concerns about cost, both projects inched ahead.

The council unanimously accepted a feasibility report that examined the cost of extending city waterlines into the newly annexed "phase 4" annexation area of Alexandria Township.

The estimated price tag: just over $8 million.

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven described it as a "very, very large" and complicated project that will add nearly 13 miles of water mains.

The council set two meetings to discuss the project further - a public informational meeting on March 19 at 5 p.m. and a more formal public hearing on April 23 at 7:15 p.m. Both meetings will take place at City Hall.

The phase 4 area affects about 1,500 residents living near lakes L'Homme Dieu and Geneva.

The water extension will be done in two phases - in 2013 and 2014.

Two of the most difficult parts of the project will be along Tolena Road and Government Point, Schoonhoven noted.

The city plans to pay for the project through assessments and bonding.


The other big project the city is considering is a major upgrade on 50th Avenue, between South Broadway and County Road 106 (Pioneer Road). At Monday's meeting, the council unanimously voted to order a feasibility report to look into the cost of the project.

The cost of the report from Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates will not exceed $5,000.

Schoonhoven told the council that he had "great news" to share: The city is eligible to receive federal funds of just over $2 million to help fund the 50th Avenue project, which is expected to cost about $2.7 million. With the funding boost, the project could be moved ahead to start in 2013.

Schoonhoven explained that the city would have to pay for the project upfront using some type of gap financing and then get reimbursed for the costs later. He said it wasn't clear whether state or federal money could help pick up the interest costs.

Council member Virgil Batesole expressed concerns over how the city could come up with the money. He wondered if there was a way to have the three property owners who have land along the road to kick in money before they develop the land.

City Administrator Jim Taddei explained that the city typically receives assessments from the owners after the land is developed.

The financing for the project would be different than other road construction projects the city has funded in the past, Schoonhoven said. He added that the report would give a clearer picture of the cost and how the city could proceed.

Council member Owen Miller suggested having the city contact the West Central Initiative to see if it could provide funds for the project. Schoonhoven said he'd look into it.

Batesole said he wanted the public to understand that just because the council ordered the report doesn't mean the 50th Avenue project will happen.

The project would start with an overlay of 50th Avenue near Menards and then completely reconstruct and widen the street to where it becomes County Road 106, about 3,000 feet. It would be a 10-ton, five-lane road with curb and gutter, and new storm sewer, Schoonhoven said. He said the project would make the land around 50th Avenue more valuable and appealing for future development.

See Friday's Echo Press for more council news.


Alexandria's "phase 4" waterline project will bring city water to the following areas - Bay Lane, Center Avenue, Tolena Road, Bay Cliff Lane, County Road 70, Parkview Road, Cherry Lane, McCauley Lane, LeHomme Dieu View, Scenic Drive, Skyline Drive, Brigitta Drive, Government Point Road, Fluegel Lane, Berg Avenue, Boys Avenue, Van Avenue, Ridgeview Terrace, Meadow Lane, Scenic Heights Road, Floding Circle, White Oaks Circle, Whispering Oaks Drive, Royal Court, Wildflower Lane, Rachel Drive, Springdale Street, Kari Street, Kyle Drive, Woodland Park Road, Lisa Avenue, Manor Drive, Manor Hills Street, North Highway 29 Frontage Road, South Highway 29 Frontage Road, Chipmunk Lane, Kurt Street and Geneva Road


The council addressed a variety of other topics at Monday's meeting: honoring resident Steve Pederson for fighting racism; a walk to increase awareness of mental health issues; a second annual duathlon; restroom improvements at Fillmore/Dean Melton Park; new snowplow equipment; a zoning request for group quarters on Jefferson Street; a property split request at the old Save Store property; comprehensive plan update; flood insurance; an engineering agreement for Whispering Oaks; and transfer of roads with Douglas County.

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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