Future of fairgrounds takes shape
Another step in guiding the future use of the Douglas County Fairgrounds property was taken Monday.
The council approved a preliminary plat for the 108-acre site south of County Road 82 that contains the land for the Douglas County Fair, several outbuildings, the Viking Speedway, the Runestone Go-Kart track, and a wetland along the western edge of the property.
The plat application was submitted jointly by the city and the Douglas County Agricultural Association, which oversees the fair and leases the land from the city.
The plat is part of the implementation of the Douglas County Fairgrounds Area Master Plan adopted by the planning commission and council back in 2016. The lease expires in August 2035, which is one of the reasons the new master plan is being developed.
The plan, which keeps the fairgrounds and racetrack in their present locations, includes steps to make the entire area more attractive and useable on a year-around basis by creating additional walking and parkway areas, multi-use fields (for soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball), an improved walking connection between the Runestone Community Center and the fairgrounds/midway, and an extensive greenway along the west edge to take advantage of the natural open space that's there.
There would also be space near County Road 82 for private development of an on-site lodging facility and restaurant. The internal roadway system would be improved to make better
and more defined connections to the public streets serving the area and would include a
connection between County Road 82 (on the north) and Latoka Drive/County Road 90 (on the
south). This would provide a new access point to Douglas County Public Works.
The multi-use fields could accommodate parking for the week of the Douglas County
Fair. The existing buildings that house the District 206 buses could be relocated to the land
owned by Douglas County, directly south of the fairgrounds, which is also presently occupied by
Douglas County Public Works
The plat was approved with five conditions:
• Cardinal Lane/Fifth Avenue will be realigned to the west of the racetrack to connect with Fifth Avenue.
• Each lot needs separate and independent connection to public utilities.
• Final utility and drainage plans must be submitted to the city engineer for review.
• Proper evidence of title must be submitted.
• A developer's agreement must be executed before the plat is recorded. The agreement must include a schedule for the proposed public improvements and any cost-sharing or assessments.
No snowmobiles, ATVs on city streets
If you routinely drive an all-terrain vehicle or snowmobile in the city limits, you'd better think twice.
The council gave preliminary approval to amend the city code, clarifying that operating ATVs, UTVs or snowmobiles is illegal on city streets. It's also illegal under existing state law.
The current ordinance, according to City Attorney Tom Jacobson, has created some confusion whether those types of vehicles may be used on public roads within the city limits because the city previously authorized the limited use of golf carts on certain city streets if the operator obtained a permit.
Snowmobiles will still be allowed on the Central Lakes Trail and the DATA trails.
Church for the Harvest — which began about 20 years ago in a pastor's living room — will soon get a new home on the north side of the intersection of 41st Avenue and 42nd Avenue in the Heritage Industrial Park area.
The council issued the church a conditional use permit to construct an 11,124-square-foot building with a worship area with 280 seats, along with fellowship and support space.
Right now, the church is located on Aga Drive.
The plan is to get the foundation in this fall and continue construction during the winter months. It's a pre-engineered steel building that uses standard commercial construction with non-flammable materials.
Several conditions were attached to the permit. The church must obtain building and sign permits, provide parking spaces that will be equal to one-fourth of the number of seats in the worship area (in this case, 70 stalls), hood any exterior lighting away from public streets, and install a public sidewalk along the north side of 41st Avenue for the full width of the property.
Pizza Ranch expanding
Pizza Ranch is planning an expansion project.
The council agreed to owner Daniel Gray's request to vacate a dead-end alley between Broadway and Fillmore Street, south of 15th Avenue, which will allow the business to expand and provide additional parking to the northwest.
In other zoning action, the council:
• Agreed to an exception-to-platting request from John and James Bosek. This will allow a one-time split to divide their 4.54-acre property at 1802 North McKay Avenue so a house could be built on the newly-created vacant property.
• Approved a final plat for the Felt-Anderson Third Addition near Kinkead Drive. The preliminary plat for the property was approved as part of a planned unit development application in 1999. The final plat is the final phase of a single-family residential development that started that year.
Torch Run for Special Olympics
The council issued a special event permit for a Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Saturday, June 29, from noon to 1:45 p.m., preceding the Vikingland Band Festival.
Registration will take place at Big Ole Central Park and the walk/run will start at Fifth Avenue, head south on Broadway to 15th Avenue and end at the Alexandria Elks. The race fee is $25.
Hosted by the Alexandria Police Department, the Torch Run will support more than 8,200 Special Olympics athletes in Minnesota.