A new express car wash/vacuum business will soon be built near 44th Avenue, east of Doolittles Woodfire Grill in south Alexandria.

At its Monday night meeting, the Alexandria City Council issued a conditional use permit to Nathan Pierson for the project.

It will be a single-bay car wash with a conveyor belt. It will not be a self-service wash. There will be room for 20 vehicles to stack up on the property. It will also include 10 vacuum stations.

The project manager, Matt Hagstrom, plans on submitting a building permit by the end of the month and is hoping for a late winter opening.

Typical hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The permit was approved with a few conditions, including building and sign permits are required, two parking stalls must be provided, any exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from public streets, and a drainage plan must be reviewed.

The council took action on several other zoning items, as recommended by the Alexandria Planning Commission:

  • Approved Bob Close’s request for the city to vacate a portion of his platted but never used 10-foot utility easement southwest of the intersection of Donna Drive and Meadow Lane. This will allow the construction of a single-family home.

  • Approved Tom Bosek’s request for an interim use permit to temporarily store up to 12 jet skis and pontoons outside for no more than one year. His property, which used to be in Alexandria Township, is on Scenic Heights Road NE. Council member Roger Thalman had several concerns about the planning commission’s findings and wanted to table the issue but his motion failed to get seconded.

  • Approved the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s conditional use permit to build four owner-occupied townhomes in a single-family residential district. A drainage plan must be submitted and approved. Separate water and sewer connections are also required, along with a park dedication contribution of $1,500. The HRA’s subdivision application was also approved.

  • Approved a final plat for the Central Lakes Apartments, as requested by Alexandria HRA and D.W. Jones. The three-story, 36-unit building is estimated to cost $5.6 million. It will be constructed on two acres of vacant land the developer already owns on Runestone Place, west of Birch Avenue and Lake Geneva.

Bonds for street projects?

The council scheduled a public meeting to consider the adoption of a street improvement plan and its intention to issue up to $2.5 million in general obligation street reconstruction bonds to pay for the projects.

The meeting will take place on Monday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Staff will present the financial impact of issuing the bonds and the plan for how the bonds will be used.

In order to issue the bonds, state law requires at least two-thirds of the council members – in Alexandria’s case, four of the five members – to vote in favor.

New message board at ball park

Knute Nelson Memorial Park will soon have an electronic message board, thanks to a donation from the Dale Serum family.

Serum, who died last November, served as the city’s community recreation director before becoming activities director at Jefferson High School, and was a long-time supporter of baseball in Alexandria. In 1967, he led the effort to reconstruct the stadium.

The amount of the donation was $16,783. The Serum family will also take care of installation costs.

New GPS may be added to runways

New global positioning systems may soon be added to two more runways at the Alexandria Airport.

The instrument-guided approaches allow a pilot to descend through clouds, rain and snow to make safe, straight-in landings in inclement weather.

Older approach systems, typically owned and maintained by the state, are aging and becoming cost prohibitive, according to city leaders.

“Adding these two new GPS approaches will help to modernize our airport – not to mention the added safety for operators of our airport like UPS, LifeLink, corporate jets, etc.,” noted City Administrator Marty Schultz in a memo to the council.

Adding the two new systems will mean that now all four runways at the airport have a GPS instrument approach.

The council authorized the city administrator to accept an agreement with TKDA engineering services to survey the runways for obstructions, assist with tree removal, perform post-removal verification survey to the Federal Aviation Administration, and assist with the paperwork in getting reimbursed for the project – 90 percent from the FAA and 5 percent from the state.

The total cost of the work is estimated at $40,000. The city’s 5 percent share of $2,000 will come from the Airport Development Fund.

HRA levy approved for next year – and good news

The Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s tax levy request for 2020 was approved.

The levy was set at $256,478, about $16,500 less than the maximum amount allowed under state law, $273,045.

The HRA has two main arms of service in the city – the Viking Towers and Woodhill Townhomes are public housing units primarily supported by federal funding and are targeted for those with very low to low incomes.

The tax levy helps support community development and redevelopment, such as new home construction, repairing existing owner and renter-occupied housing, rental inspections, low-income housing tax credit housing and other programs, according to Jeff Hess, HRA director.

The HRA’s budget for 2020 equals the levy amount. It includes $178,260 for personnel, which is 69.5 percent of its budget, slightly less than this year’s 70.33 percent.

Hess also filled the council in on good news – the HRA’s grant application to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to replace the heating and plumbing lines at Viking Towers was approved for $1.9 million, the biggest award granted through the program.