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Council closes meeting to discuss lawsuit

The Alexandria City Council closed its meeting a little early Monday night to discuss "pending or threatening litigation" concerning a lawsuit brought against the city by Aaron Dalton of Burnsville.

Minnesota's open meeting laws allow government entities to confidentially discuss legal strategies with their attorneys.

Dalton has sued other cities, including Wadena and Detroit Lakes, over allegations of handicap accessibility problems at government-owned buildings, according to a story in the March 3 issue of the Duluth News Tribune.

Dalton, who has cerebral palsy, claimed that he stopped by the Wadena Municipal Liquor Store last summer and was unable to gain access with his motorized wheelchair, according to the story. He was seeking "nominal damages" and a judge's order to bring the liquor store into compliance with federal law.

Kinkead Drive paving

A 408-foot section of Kinkead Drive west of Agnes Boulevard may soon be paved.

The council ordered an engineering report to determine the costs and feasibility of the project. The cost of the report is $1,500.

All five of the affected property owners along the street signed a petition for the improvements, including Alexandria Extrusion Company, Karl and Trina Hubenette, the Kinkead Commons Townhome Association, Roselene Poepping and Ruth Niska.

During the public comment period at Monday's meeting, James Pischke, president of the townhome association, said residents wholeheartedly support the paving project. He said that every time it rains, they end up with gravel in their garages.

If it goes forward, the property owners would be assessed 80 percent of the project's cost and the city would pay for the remaining 20 percent.

Special event permits

The council issued a special event permit to Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota for its 26th annual "Habitat 500 Bike Ride" July 17-19.

For the first time, this year's ride will raise funds for a habitat home in Douglas County, said Lori Anderson, director of Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County. Anderson, who is participating in the ride, said that riders will stop at a Habitat build site in Brandon.

Funds raised will support the Brandon home. To register, go to and click on the "Join the Team" button next to Douglas County Wednesday Team at the bottom of the page. Registration deadline is July 11.

About 80 bicyclists will be staying at the Runestone Community Center. They will depart each day for the ride and then return mid to late afternoon.

The council also issued a special event permit to the Alexandria Area High School Student Council for its homecoming parade on Friday, Sept. 21, from 4 to 5 p.m.

The parade will start at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and continue to Broadway, go down to 15th Avenue and end at the Alexandria Technical and Community College parking lot. About 2,000 people are expected to participate.

Street project updates

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven provided an update of current street projects:

• The 2018 local street improvement projects are nearly complete. This included mill, overlay and reclaim work to several streets in the northeast part of the city. The only work remaining is reclaim projects on Lakepark Avenue and Lakepark Place. The city delayed paving those streets by three weeks to allow the subgrade more time to dry, Schoonhoven said. The final completion date is Aug. 1.

• Work on the Runestone Community Center parking lot and entrance road is expected to be completed by July 27. This is a joint project between the city and the Douglas County Agricultural Association. It includes installing a drainage pond, putting in storm sewer and reconstructing the entrance road. The first section of the curb and gutter will be installed later this week.

• A pre-construction conference for improvement projects on Agnes Boulevard and Dakota Street was held June 13. Work is expected to start in mid-July. The first phase of the Agnes Boulevard work (between Broadway and Edgewater Drive) will be constructed first and is scheduled to be finished by mid-August. The completion date for all of the work is Oct. 5.

Finance clerk honored

The city's finance clerk, Kathy Summer, recently received a handwritten letter of congratulations from the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association for earning the prestigious designation of Minnesota Master Municipal Clerk.

City Administrator Marty Schultz said the accomplishment recognizes Summer's professional competency in the execution of her duties and takes many hours of continuing education to attain. Only two clerks in the state received the honor this year.

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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