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Council accepts $489,737 bid to extend sidewalk on Highway 29 in Alexandria

The extension is the first of three consecutive projects that will ultimately extend the sidewalk from 15th Avenue to 44th Avenue over the next three years.

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The city of Alexandria, as shown in this aerial shot. (Echo Press file photo)

Smoother sidewalks await pedestrians who want to walk near Highway 29 from 18th Avenue all the way to 34th Avenue.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council accepted the lowest of three bids, $489,737, from Ferguson Brothers Excavation of Alexandria to do the project. The bid was 17% higher than the engineer’s estimate.

But the high bids were somewhat expected. “Cities throughout Minnesota are currently experiencing higher than expected bids due to uncertainties in the workforce,” noted City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven in a memo to the council.

The new sidewalk, about a mile long, will be built along the east side of the highway. It's expected to be completed this October.

With an additional $80,172 for engineering work, the total project cost is $569,909. The city, however, is only paying a fraction of the cost, $3,650.

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The bulk of the money, $515,472, will come from a state grant through the Local Partnership Program or LPP. Municipal state aid funds will cover $50,788 of the engineering costs.

The council took two actions. It approved a motion to award the bid on the project and it agreed to enter into an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for the LPP funding.

The extension is the first of three consecutive projects that will ultimately extend the sidewalk from 15th Avenue to 44th Avenue over the next three years.

The project will provide a much-needed pedestrian link between Alomere Health, the Midway Mall shopping center and the Viking Plaza mall, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

Fire truck is being sold to Carlos

The Alexandria Fire Department is selling its 1999 aerial truck to the city of Carlos for $20,000.

The council authorized Chief Jeff Karrow to sign the bill of sale on behalf of the city. The sale must also be approved by the Carlos City Council.

The truck has about 9,400 miles on it, along with 846 hours of operation. The truck was purchased and used in 2008 and put on a 15-year depreciation schedule, Karrow said.

The $20,000 will go into the fire equipment fund.

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The city is getting a new aerial truck in late October. The bill of sale won’t be finalized until the new truck arrives.

Karrow said the new Rosenbauer truck will be showcased at the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Conference on Oct. 20-23.

Food truck, coffee company get licenses

New food and beverage options will be rolling into Alexandria soon.

The council approved a mobile food truck license for Good Burger and More, owned by Kathleen Clarke of Garfield.

The council also issued a transient merchant license to the Beau Coffee Company, owned by Elizabeth Beaumia of Starbuck. It will be setting up at Lakes Country Meats at 1700 North Nokomis Street, offering bags of coffee, coffee drinks (hot or cold) and cold soft drinks.

Part of 18th Avenue to become state aid street

The council approved a resolution to make 18th Avenue a municipal state aid street from Fillmore Street to Broadway.

This will allow the city to use state aid funds to reconstruct the street.

There are eight different types of streets within the city – trunk highway, trunk highway turnback, county state aid, county state aid turnbacks, municipal state aid streets, county roads, county road turnbacks and local streets.

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Municipal state aid streets comprise about 15% of the total mileage within the city, according to Schoonhoven. These streets are specifically selected to be the city’s busier collector streets.

“We manage this system very carefully to maximize the amount of funding allotted to the city,” Schoonhoven said.

Last year, the city received about $1.12 million in municipal state aid funds.

In related action, the council also approved a resolution to establish Hawthorne Street, from 17th Avenue to 18th Avenue, as a municipal state aid route, which will allow the city to access state aid to reconstruct that street as well.

Air conditioning coming to Public Works

It will soon be cooler to work in the city’s Public Works street building.

The council awarded a low quote of $21,404 from Ellingson Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical to install air conditioning in the building’s mechanic bay and sign room. The equipment is expected to be installed later this summer.

The street department has taken on additional work servicing vehicles and completing sign work for police, the fire department and other city departments, according to Dane Bosl, director of streets and stormwater.

Temperatures exceed 90 degrees in the building on a daily basis, he added in a memo to the council.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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