Final phase of pedestrian island ideas begin on Alexandria's Third Avenue

Alexandria City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven gave an update on this year’s street projects at Monday’s Alexandria City Council meeting.

Third Avenue and Kenwood demonstration project. The final phase of this project has started. This phase extends the pedestrian island further east to block the remaining turning movements. A bicycle planner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation is in charge of the project. The project will run approximately two more weeks.

17th Avenue and Cedar. All work is complete except for the placement of the final lift of bituminous.

Irving Street. All underground utilities have been installed. The contractor is working on sidewalk installation. Road work is about one week away.

Eighth Avenue. All underground utilities are installed between Kenwood and Maple Streets. The contractor is working on the installation of utilities between Maple and Nokomis. The final grading of the road is about two weeks away.


Woodland Park Drive. Work on this portion of the project is scheduled to start soon. The completion date is early October.

Scenic Heights/Deerwood Drive. All work is substantially complete. Minor punch list items remain.

Darling Avenue/Maple Street. The contractor is working on completing the sidewalks. Road work should start this week. The project completion date is mid-October.

Following are other items from the Sept. 28 meeting not included in other council stories.

Changes at Alex Tech

The council issued a conditional use permit that allows the Alexandria Technical and Community College to move its tactical skills training area for its law enforcement program to the east side of the campus on the southwest corner of 18th Avenue and Nokomis Street.

The current site is obstructed by a portion of the college’s truck driving course and occupied by a student softball field that’s operated by the college under a conditional use permit issued in 2004.

The request for another permit was driven by a land swap between the college and Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management. The college agreed to sell the warehouse, the property and the law enforcement out buildings to PDSW.

In order to maintain the law enforcement program, the college needs to move the tactical area.


A final drainage plan must be reviewed as part of the permit process.

In other zoning action, the council approved two final plats: Whispering Meadows First Addition townhomes on Voyager Drive (Slowing Down Investments is the developer) and Pioneer Properties (Darrell and Beth Johnson). The Pioneer Properties plat contains a condition that a drainage plan must meet city requirements before it’s approved.

Safety grant accepted

The council agreed to accept a $16,925 grant from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety’s Toward Zero Death law enforcement effort that will crack down on drunk driving, speeding, seat belt use and other unsafe driving behavior during five waves.

The money will be used for extra enforcement, equipment and administrative costs. The grant will run from Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021.

Workforce housing support

The council approved a subgrant agreement that will allow the city to give a $1 million grant it received from the state’s Workforce Development Housing Program to the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

It will support a 37-unit workforce housing development, Central Lakes Housing, LLC.


The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will review the agreement for compliance.

CARES Act change, update

A city-supported program that helps small businesses and non-profits through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will now be allocated through the Alexandria Economic Development Authority.

The EDA members are the council and the mayor.

At two previous meetings, the council allocated a total of $355,000 to the program but new guidelines have emerged that indicate the best way to allocate the money would be through a city’s EDA.

Public works positions open

The council agreed to post three job openings in the public works department – two maintenance operators and one mechanic.

The positions are replacements for employees who applied for the city’s early retirement incentive program.

Emergency declaration extended

For the sixth time, the city has extended its declaration of a local emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city first ratified Mayor Sara Carlson’s declaration on March 18 and extended it on April 13, May 26, June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24. Monday’s action extends it to through Oct. 31..


The declaration allows the city to be eligible for state and federal emergency funds and gives the city more flexibility at the local level, such as calling emergency meetings if a health situation warrants it.

Designated depository added

The council added Moreton Capital Markets of Excelsior to the city’s list of designated depositories.

This brings the number of financial institutions on the list to 20.

Lynn Cornell with Moreton Capital Market specializes in working with local governments and has more than 30 years of investment experience, according to Jane Blade, finance director.


‘Out of the Darkness Walk’

The council approved a special event permit for the Alexandria Jaycees’ “Out of the Darkness Walk” on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 8 a.m. to noon. The walk, which is part of a series of walks organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will start at City Park at 9 a.m. and follow the trail to Big Ole Central Park and then back to City Park.

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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