At its Monday night meeting, the Alexandria City Council revealed a new way for residents to show their pride in the city – getting and giving “wooden nickels.”

One side of the nickel shows the City of Alexandria’s logo. The other side reads, “Because of YOU we are better.”

While the tokens have no redeemable value, they’re still very much worth something, according to Mayor Sara Carlson. She said they’ll soon be circulated throughout town and handed out to people who are “caught doing something good.”

“When someone does something nice or constructive, you give them one,” Carlson said.

Carlson said the idea came out of Alexandria being selected as the “Best Minnesota Town” by Minnesota Monthly magazine.

“We wanted to do something fun,” Carslon said.

Carlson said the tokens will be rolled out this week and the city hopes people who receive them will eventually pass them on to others who are doing good things in the city.

Following are other items from the Monday, Oct. 14 meeting that were not included in other council stories.

Good sidewalk news

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven delivered good news for sidewalk walkers.

The state selected the city to receive a $415,000 grant through the Local Partnership Program to extend sidewalks along Highway 29 South from 18th Avenue all the way south to the Viking Plaza and 34th Avenue.

The city applied for the funding in July and just received word that the project will be funded.

The project also includes signal modifications at 22nd, 30th and 34th Avenues to accommodate the new sidewalks.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $453,981. State aid would cover the remaining costs except for design engineering expenses of about $35,000.

The ultimate goal of the project, according to Schoonhoven, is to provide pedestrian access for the entire length of Highway 29 from the freeway to Third Avenue. Right now, there is a gap between 15th and 18th Avenue.

Walkers will have to wait awhile, however. The project won’t take place until 2022.

Schoonhoven also shared another piece of good news: Alexandria is tentatively set to receive $40,000 more in municipal state aid for streets in 2020.

Bellanca building negotiations stall

Negotiations to sell the old Bellanca Aircraft building at the Alexandria Airport to a potential buyer, Bellanca Aerospace represented by Gavin Ellzey, have stalled.

The buyer didn’t sign an agreement before the Sept. 23 deadline so the council decided not to grant an extension beyond that date.

Instead, the council authorized Airport Manager Kreg Anderson to seek other potential buyers for the building. The city’s goal with the building is to see it repaired and used for aviation or aeronautical purposes.

Anderson said there are some local businesses and individuals interested in buying the building or leasing it to others. Another option is to demolish the building, he said.

City still considering buying old REA building

For the second time in two months, the Alexandria City Council closed the final portion of its meeting to consider the purchase of the property at 124 7th Avenue West and 713 Fillmore Street – the old office location for Runestone Electric Association.

State law allows councils to close meetings to develop or consider offers or counter-offers involving real estate.

If the city ultimately acquires the property, the capital improvement plan will be the source of the funding, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

Charitable gambling licenses

The council issued charitable licenses to the Alexandria Youth Bowling Association to sell raffles for two events at Garden Center Lanes/Broadway Ballroom on Jan. 25 and May 8, 2020.