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Mayor's Minute: Thoughts from Sara Carlson, Alexandria Mayor The buzz on Broadway

Grant Haugen

They have now completed the removal of all of the existing pavement, curb and gutter, brick pavers and light poles. So it looks like a lot of work has been done and now they will focus on removing the underground steam lines. There are two steam lines running parallel to each other in this section of Broadway.

A distribution line is a 10-12 inch steel line that is encased in a 16-inch clay tile and a return line that is a 4-6 inch line encased in an 8-inch clay tile.

The removal of this material takes special handling and disposal techniques.

As we expected, this project would not be easy or without a few glitches. Naturally, we wish the project would run flawlessly, but we know better than that!

The contractor is working in the basements of several businesses, getting ready for the installation of individual water services. This is very difficult work in that it involves disconnecting and connecting to very old and brittle service lines. During one shut off time the water was off way too long and at the wrong time, especially for the restaurants.

There were a few water service disruptions of approximately one hour each on Monday, both due to breaks of old water services. Some downtown businesses were without water and we are trying to come up with a solution so this will not happen again.

An orange barrier fence has been installed between the remaining sidewalk and the work zone for all of Phase 1. Remember, businesses are open and accessible through front and back doors.

The sidewalks are not only open now, but will be throughout the whole project. Come on down and shop; it is fun to watch the project as it progresses.

Weather permitting, the contractor will be working on Saturdays.

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This week in celebration of Memorial Day, I had the distinct honor to talk with Grant Haugen - not about the Broadway project, but as a time for us to stop, reflect and honor a veteran and all the veterans.

A little about Grant D. Haugen: He enlisted with the United States Marine Corps and served in Vietnam 1969-70. He served in the infantry, protecting firebases and setting up night ambushes. He served with the 3rd Battalion 26th Marines. He has been a deputy sheriff, sheriff, and an instructor at ATCC. Now retired and a life member of VFW Post 936; Marine Corps League, Runestone Detachment 1409; Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 235; and American Legion Post 87.

Haugen said, “It was an honor to have served my country, and as veterans we enjoy the camaraderie with each other when we get together.”

He also said, “I believe it would be advantageous for all of our young men and women to contribute at least two years’ service to their country; whether it would be military or some other type of meaningful public service.”

He told me, “All our veteran organizations help veterans in various ways. Whether through Honor Guard participation or some financial assistance, all our veteran organizations contribute in some way to helping the youth in our community.

He left me with a quote from Sen. Sanders: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, then don’t go to war.”

I think that says it all for this week! Thanks to all our veterans!

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Don’t forget that all the downtown stores are open for business throughout the entire project. Please keep coming downtown and visiting your favorite merchants. Feel free to contact me at: or write to City Hall at 704 Broadway; or to the Echo Press at PO Box 549, Alexandria MN 56308.