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Council acts on Fillmore Street project, park restrooms and more

Reconstruction of Fillmore Street, new restrooms at a city park and a new lawn mower.

Those were just three of the odds and ends items the Alexandria City Council took care of and its May 14 meeting.

The council:

• Awarded a $426,622 bid from Breitbach Construction to reconstruct Fillmore Street between 7th and 9th Avenue. It was the lowest of the five bids received and less than the city engineer's estimate of $499,427. Federal and state funds will pay for the bulk of the work. Alexandria Light and Power and Alexandria Lakes Area Sanitary District will cover the rest of the cost.

• Congratulated City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven for donating his kidney to his brother-in-law. The procedure was a success, said Schoonhoven, who had a speedy recovery and was at Monday's meeting.

• Agreed to call for bids on a project to replace the restrooms at Dean Melton/Fillmore Park. The current facility, built in 1966, often plugs up and isn't handicap accessible, said Park Director Bill Thoennes. The estimated cost of the project is around $100,000. Metal beams and tin would be sold to offset the cost. The project also includes a covered picnic shelter that's similar to the one there now. Council member Virgil Batesole voted against it, saying that the new restrooms are a luxury the city doesn't need. He said that the existing facility could be modified for less money or the city could use portable toilets like it has at Big Ole Central Park. Council members noted that they are only calling for bids at this point.

• Approved Thoennes' request to call for quotes on a new zero-turn lawnmower for the park department. Batesole voted against it. He wanted to delay taking action until a new city engineer/public works coordinator is hired.

• Was informed that Douglas County Public Works will hold its annual informational meeting on Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. at public works. The mayor and council members were invited to attend.

• Approved the Lakes Area Humane Society's plans for its 6th annual Alexandria 5K/10K Run set for September 15. The family friendly event will take place at Big Ole Park. About 400 participants and 80 volunteers are expected.

• Postponed acting on the American Heart Association's request to hold a Heart Walk in Alexandria because there was a discrepancy about the date of the event.

• Issued a charitable gambling license to the Alexandria Elks Lodge to sell pull tabs at an event at the Runestone Community Center on June 14-16.

• Approved TWF Industries' request to amend its JOBZ agreement. JOBZ is a state program that encourages development by offering tax incentives. The company plans to add 20,000 square feet to its facility along County Road 45. Excluding the expansion area from the JOBZ allows the company to avoid some of the extra upfront costs that are required under the JOBZ agreement, such as using prevailing wages to pay for construction, according to Jason Murray, director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission.

• Referred Wayne Johnson's request for the city to vacate a block of Lake Street between 1st Avenue and Kenwood Drive to the planning commission.

• Proclaimed May 17 as National Curves Day, in celebration of National Women's Health Week, May 13-19. The week increases awareness of women's health issues nationwide.

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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