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In the Know: The city is planning for the future

It’s springtime in the city! It’s the time of year there are lots of questions about things in the city and surrounding areas. I will try and answer and address some of them and if you have questions, please contact us at city hall. We appreciate your input and your calls.

We are looking forward to flowers being planted and brightening up Broadway. This will be the first full summer with the project completed and we hope for a busy year after the long construction process last year.

Nuisances and complaints about garbage and litter abound at this time of year. It is a good reminder that we all need to clean up our own places and those around us as best we can. Metal pick-up day was this week and has always been a successful event. The city is happy to provide this service.

Housing questions: The question has been asked of us what we are doing about housing concerns. We are doing a number of things. First, we have a community group that has organized to look into housing concerns and make recommendations to the council. If interested, please get involved and attend meetings.

Also, we do take housing seriously. We have a lack of good work-force housing and the plan to keep the ones we have up to par. The city has a rental registration program that includes inspections. Rental properties are inspected at least once every three years and if there are violations they must be fixed within 15 days.

We are always looking to support good work-force housing in our community. This is an important issue in the Legislature this year and there are several proposed and pending bills that would create programs that may be of benefit to our city and surrounding areas.

With the nice weather we tend to drive faster, louder and be outdoors (thankfully) more. Please remember, if you have loud vehicles, to be respectful of others. Be careful driving. We know it is tourist season and not everyone knows the area as well as the locals. However, our economy depends on tourism and a friendly smile and a few kind words go a long way in letting people know how great Alexandria is! It is something we all can do!

Several long-awaited projects will commence construction this year. The reconstruction of 50th Avenue from South Broadway to the railroad tracks will expand the roadway to five lanes with a center-turn lane. This will provide more capacity and a safer roadway to access Alexandria Area High School.

MnDOT will begin the Highway 29/Interstate 94 interchange project. This project will take place over two years, with the area south of the interchange set for work this summer. The area north of the interchange will be under construction next year. Key improvements in this area include a reconstruction of the Highway 29/50th Avenue intersection to allow for safer, more efficient traffic flow

Finally, the mayor, city council, and staff are embarking on a strategic planning process that will be a tool for decision-making, leadership, management and communication. Look for more details on this process over the course of the next few months.

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“In the Know” is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.