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IN THE KNOW: Mayor Dan's legacy will live on

The summer is in full swing and the city is full of vitality and excitement! The city has never looked healthier, prettier or more energetic. I am so proud of how great everything looks and how wonderful our residents keep their homes, lawns and areas. Our city keeps the streets, parks and buildings in tiptop condition. We are truly a great looking vicinity!

Now, before you start writing letters about areas of town that need repair and which streets and sidewalks need re-doing, we know, and we have a plan for all for them, too! We actually have a sidewalk master plan and our yearly street overlay plan that we work on with our city engineer. As we budget, we will work on the worst first and will get to them all.

There have been festivals, parades, fun runs, and music galore. Summer is a great time in Alexandria! Take time to get out and enjoy the whole of Douglas County while the summer is here. Every weekend and many week days there is something to do.

Starting July 11, there will be a mock up on the north end of Broadway between Second and Third Avenue called the “Missing Link Project.” That area was not done when we did the Broadway reconstruction, as it is not state highway.

Horizon Public Health, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is proceeding with the demonstration project. The intent of the project is to create a complete street concept for this portion of Broadway using temporary materials (paint, plastic bollards, signs, potted plants, etc.). This demonstration project will mimic the permanent design that was developed last year. The demonstration project will be in place from approximately mid-July to mid-August. So please take a drive, or walk, or bike down there during that month and see what you think and give us some feedback.

In addition to the other construction out by the interstate, the Target frontage road is being reconstructed with new pavement, curb and gutter and sidewalk. This project will be completed by the end of July. Next summer, the frontage road in front of Doolittle’s will get done. In the meantime, all the roads in that area are totally open with access to all businesses, so please get out there and frequent those businesses. They need your support!

My person this In the Know cycle is former mayor, H. Dan Ness (mayor, 2001-2012). He is a veteran, a former fire chief, a businessman who owned and ran his own business – with a file of awards and honors that I am not going to list here and now. As we are just coming off Independence Day it is certainly time for us as a city to stop and reflect on where we are today and the fact that our city wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work of our predecessors who worked so hard and with so much dedication. They make a lot of what we are doing today possible.

Mayor Dan is the gentleman who was my mentor and friend when I was a councilperson and taught me many things. One thing he passed on was his passion and vision for Alexandria. Now lots of those visions we worked on together and anyone in government knows that government moves slowly and seeing some projects come to fulfillment can take a long time. The Broadway project would be one. The whole idea of doing something to beautify the north end of town started a long time ago with Dan and now slowly we see that coming to fruition.

Postscript – as this went to press:

Many of you knew that Mayor H. Dan Ness was battling acute myeloid leukemia. He lost that battle July 1 on his 55th wedding anniversary, surrounded by his family, just how he wanted it. He was first and foremost a man who was loved by and was devoted to his family.

He will leave a legacy in this city of leadership and community service. He was a friend to many and worked hard to see that many entities, not just the city, were progressive and economically sound.

There is, of course, comfort knowing he is in a better place, yet it is with heavy heart that I and so many friends say good-bye.

So, Mayor Dan, you left a family that loves you and you can be proud of all of them. Thoughts and prayers go out to them … friends, who admire, love and respect you and a community better off because you were here.

Your legacy lives on. Rest well, my fine friend!

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