11 things to know from city council
The Alexandria City Council set a speed limit of 45 miles per hour on the newly widened section of 50th Avenue between Pioneer Road and South Broadway.
The road has been under scrutiny because it is on the route to the new Alexandria Area High School.
The city’s highway committee recommended the speed limit after the police department’s speed trailer recorded vehicle speeds at three different locations along 50th Avenue. Speeds ranged from 33 to 49 mph.
The highway committee will continue to monitor the location as more development occurs in the area.
TISCHER BUILDING MAY
The Tischer office building at 113 Third Avenue West may be demolished.
The Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum (MLMM) is proposing to buy the building, remove it and then donate the property to the city at no cost. It would then lease the property from the city.
It’s part of the museum’s plan to revitalize and improve North Broadway, according to Director Bruce Olson. It would also make its location more visible and provide additional parking.
In a letter to the city, museum leaders said they have an established track record of thoughtful, well-planned development that has converted previously unsightly and unused structures into an attractive campus.
“We continue to share the vision of the North Broadway area becoming an attractive, welcoming anchor for downtown Alexandria,” the letter said.
The council directed city staff to prepare an amendment to the existing lease agreement with MLMM to include the new property.
TOBACCO BAN IN PARKS
The council adopted a revised policy regarding the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in city parks.
It states: “The city of Alexandria has prohibited the use of all tobacco products in all parks within the city limits. These products include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and any electronic delivery device.”
The existing policy, enacted in 2005, was not as clear-cut and only designated “tobacco free” zones in certain areas of the parks. Signs also stated that compliance was voluntary.
To put some teeth into the ban, city staff was directed to draft an ordinance about the ban that could be placed into city code and enforced.
Two recommended amendments to the city Charter that failed to get the required unanimous vote may take effect after all.
The council unanimously voted to rescind its action on the amendments regarding the fire department and the airport commission. The amendments call to eliminate some of the language in the charter that spells out how those departments are structured.
Council member Virgil Batesole previously cast the lone vote against the amendments because he was worried that the changes could someday eliminate those two departments.
After learning that another section of the Charter states that the fire and airport departments will remain, Batesole agreed to change his vote.
The council unanimously voted to approve a first reading of those two amendments.
In related action, the council approved a second reading of four Charter amendments that delete references to the health department, the planning department, library board, and the parks and recreation board.
A second reading of another Charter amendment failed when Batesole cast the lone vote against it even though he voted in favor of it the first time. It would have given the council the flexibility of creating divisions and offices of any department “as it deems necessary or proper.” It would have allowed the council to determine the powers and duties of all appointed officers and to assign them to perform duties in two or more departments.
Batesole said the amendment was too vague and broad.
The council issued special event permits for the following:
• The ninth annual “Taking Steps Against Domestic Violence Walk” on Tuesday, October 13 from 3:45 to 7 p.m. Organized by Someplace Safe and United Communities Advocating Non-Violence, the walk will begin at 5 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, go about a mile and end at Calvary Lutheran Church.
A related event, the 15th annual Domestic Abuse and Awareness Luncheon featuring Kathy Weckwerth, a survivor, author and speaker, will take place October 14 from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Arrowwood Resort. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Neighborhood National Bank.
The council also approved a proclamation, designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It urges people to reduce violence in their homes and on the street.
• Alexandria Area High School’s homecoming parade on October 3 from 11 a.m. to noon. It will start at the fairgrounds.
• Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association’s Foli-Ole Fall Festival on October 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free family event, which used to take place at Anderson Florist, is being moved downtown. It includes hay rides, cookie decorating, petting zoo, face painting and other activities.
FALL METAL PICK-UP DAY
The city has scheduled the 2015 Fall Metal Pick-up Day for Tuesday, September 29. Forms will be printed in the newspaper next week. Forms must be dropped off at City Hall by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 28.
The council referred a request from Wayside Farm, LLC to the city's insurer, LMCIT. The farm claims that when the city installed a waterline in Rosewood Lane in 2006, it disturbed a drain tile that has caused extensive flooding problems at the farm.
Representatives of the farm presented the city with a request for reimbursement that estimates the flooding losses to crops and trees at $18,843 and repair costs at $9,206.
A public hearing has been scheduled for October 12 to discuss the proposed assessments for the phase four, part two orderly annexation waterline improvements. It will take place at City Hall at 7:15 p.m.
In related action, the council started the process of approving assessments for the phase four, part three orderly annexation waterline improvements. Fifteen properties are proposed for assessment.
When the project is completed this November, it will end the waterline extensions required under the annexation agreement with Alexandria Township.
The council has declared the cost of the assessments for the street and water improvements to Evergreen Lane.
The cost of the project was $274,200. The city will pay 20 percent, or $51,206, and the remaining amount, $222,994, will be assessed against the benefiting property owner.
A hearing was set for October 12 at 7:15 p.m.
The final assessments for the Boys Avenue paving and drainage project were approved. The total assessments for the eight parcels of land amounted to $41,437. Property owners may spread the cost over 10 years at an interest rate of 5 percent.
KIWANIS CLUBS HONORED
The council approved a resolution proclaiming September 21 as Kiwanis International Day.
The document noted that the four Kiwanis clubs in Alexandria – Golden K, Noon Kiwanis, AAHS Key Club and Aktion Club – are devoted to improving the world “one child and one community at a time.”