The city of Alexandria's logo of a sun and waves on top of the slogan, "Easy To Get To, Hard To Leave," will soon be replaced on city vehicles and public relations materials.

At its Monday meeting, the council approved a new logo with a simpler sun and wave art and ALEXANDRIA, spelled out in all caps, next to it.

The current logo was created 20 years ago and it was time for a change, according to Sara Stadtherr, communications coordinator. The new logo has a new, fresh, current look to it, she said.

"The beauty of this new logo and look is that it is very versatile," Stadtherr told the council. "The logo itself can stand alone, it can also have the words 'City of' on the top or it can have words under it as well - like the version that has 'Minnesota' on it."

Council member Bob Kuhlman wasn't impressed. "It could be done on the Internet for $49," he said.

Council member Virgil Batesole said that although the logo is very simple, it "kind of grows on you." He said that at first, he thought it was too plain but after gazing at it for awhile, he liked it. "It's simple, clear and delivers a message," Batesole said.

The familiar "Easy To Get To" slogan isn't going away completely. The city may still use it from time to time, just not as part of the official logo.

Last April, the council agreed to pay $3,600, based on the number of hours required, to Elenberger Creative of Alexandria, to design a new city logo in multiple formats and serve as a brand consultant for up to a year.

The old logo and slogan had too much detail and wasn't suitable for online marketing, converting electronically or to put on clothing, Stadtherr said.

The city held a series of public input sessions, involving the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission, Explore Alexandria, the Downtown Merchants Association and an internal Marketing Vision Group that included city staff and council members.

More than 20 revisions, looks, ideas and changes were considered. Ultimately, the Marketing Vision Group recommended the version the council approved on a 4-1 vote. Kuhlman voted no.

New First Lutheran Church

The council issued a conditional use permit to First Lutheran Church to construct a 26,000-square building to house a fellowship hall, serving kitchen, offices and educational space.

The church will be built on a 22-acre site of undeveloped farm land at 1655 18th Ave. East. It will be located on the west side of County Road 46 or McKay Avenue, south of a proposed new road, 18th Avenue, that could be built within five years.

The "Celebration Hills" development will take place in phases. Work is expected to start next spring.

44th Ave. extended?

The council agreed to apply for a state grant to extend 44th Avenue by about 1,855 feet, from where it ends northeast of Doolittle's Woodfire Grill to a new connection with South Broadway.

The project would provide a much-needed secondary access to the commercial area in south Alexandria, according to City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven. The city has received "development inquiries" for property along the 44th Avenue right of way, he added.

About $25.3 million is available statewide through the grant program. The maximum amount of funding for any single project is $750,000.

Applications are due Nov. 3. Awards will be announced in March.

If Alexandria's application is approved, the extension could be built in 2019.

Lake Andrew development changes

The council agreed to amend the city's comprehensive plan to accept changes for the Zavadil Development on the north shore of Lake Andrew.

The existing plan, which was first approved in 2007, had an overall planning area of 654 acres. A new plan, Roth Development, includes a 220 acre portion of that, which would reduce the overall density from 3.8 dwelling units per acre to 2.0 units.

The new plan also removes apartments and increases the park dedication fee from 10 percent of the land to 18.2 percent. The new park dedication area would include a large community park and sports area that would accommodate two soccer fields.

The development has about 4,270 linear feet of lakeshore - 1,061 of it used for park and conservation easement. The remaining 3,209 feet is proposed to be used for single family residential homes.

The existing master plan for the development showed clear distinctions between townhomes and commercial uses while the new plan lumps those uses together into a mixed use development without showing proposed locations.

Another big change is along the shoreline. The existing Zavadil plan restricts development with a conservation easement and public parkland while the Roth plan allows the development of lake homes; it shows 25 lots with an average lot width of 128 feet.

According to the developer's engineer, Hagstrom Engineering: "The intention of this amendment is to work with and to improve upon the approved comprehensive plan by reducing the overall density and to provide a plan that works with the overall layout of the property and to still be cohesive with the overall approved comprehensive plan."

Council member Todd Jensen noted that the developer and the city spent a lot of time on the new plan. He said he appreciated the park space and the fact that members of the Roth family will live in the development.

New police vehicles

The council agreed to purchase three 2018 Ford Interceptor all-wheel-drive vehicles for $95,064, which includes equipment and installation.

The city received two bids - Juettner Ford of Alexandria for $28,183 per vehicle and Ford of Hibbing, which has a contract with the state to provide police vehicles, for $28,001. Although the local bid was slightly higher, Police Chief Rick Wyffels recommended it because the difference would be made up in labor and manpower since officers wouldn't have to make the nine-hour roundtrip drive to Hibbing.

The new vehicles will replace three existing Interceptor vehicles that each have between 100,000 and 120,000 miles.

The police department will take three other vehicles, used for investigations, out of commission and sell them. They each have mileage ranging from 90,000 to 160,000 miles and have questionable reliability, Wyffels said.