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County looking at expanding courthouse parking

The front lawn of the courthouse, which faces 7th Avenue East and Douglas Street, will eventually be turned into additional parking. (Contributed)

Three options to increase parking at the Douglas County Courthouse were presented to the Douglas County commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday, May 7.

All three options would eliminate much of the lawn in front of the courthouse, which faces 7th Avenue West.

A timeline has not been set and the proposed parking lot is in the preliminary stages, County Board Chairman Charlie Meyer said. The board did not address the reason for more parking, just that more parking is needed.

"We don't know when this is going to happen," said Meyer, who expects it will take place after the military items on the courthouse lawn, including a soldier statue, are moved to the Veterans Park that is being built on the corner of 8th Avenue West and Broadway Street.

The summer concert series hosted by Red Willow Arts Coalition will continue to be held on the courthouse lawn this year.

Jeremy Anderson from Design Tree, an engineering and land surveying firm with offices in St. Cloud, Rogers and Alexandria, presented the three options to the county board.

Option 1, at a projected cost of nearly $278,000, would add 79 parking stalls to 16 existing ones for a total of 95.

Option 2, the preferred option according to Anderson, has a projected cost of about $308,000. Because of how the project is designed, it includes 22 existing parking spaces and adds 81 for a total of 103.

Option 3, includes an additional 92 stalls to 22 already in place for 114 spaces, and is estimated at close to $364,000.

All three options include proposed infiltration basins or rain gardens.

"Option 2 is the most cost effective and gives you the best bang for your buck," Anderson said.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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