At its July 27 meeting, the Alexandria City Council agreed to proceed with projects that will make the entrances and access to City Hall safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds from the federal CARES Act will cover the following costs:

  • $13,438 to provide access control to the five doors at City Hall (the rear entrance, three access doors to the office area and an Information Technology room. The controller would also accommodate an additional 27 doors and access points in the future. Arvig will do the work.

  • $2,700 to make the front door on Broadway a push-button accessible entrance. This will be needed because the rear entrance will become an employee-only access. Alex Glass and Glazing will do the project.

  • $4,000 to install a ramp on Seventh Avenue to allow for an entrance onto the sidewalk from the one or two accessible parking stalls that will be placed on Seventh Avenue.

  • $300 to repair a sidewalk panel in the ramp to the Broadway entrance.

  • $5,000, estimated, to install a railing along the City Hall entrance ramp.

The council also agreed to look at improving the security at City Hall by finding out how much it would cost to install cameras in the parking lot and around the perimeter of the building.

Following are other items from the July 27 meeting not included in other council stories.

Street project updates

CIty Engineer Tim Schoonhoven gave the following street project updates:

44th Avenue.The contractor is working on the final excavation of the pond and grading of the trail in preparation for paving. The project completion date is late August.

Runestone Avenue (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) project. As planned, work on this project is on-hold for a while to allow further construction on the apartment buildings before the final lift of pavement. The project completion date is late September.

2020 street and utility projects. The contractor is working on curb and gutter and valley gutters on Cedar Street and 17th Avenue. The next project area to start work will be Irving Street, which is scheduled to start around the first of August.

Scenic Heights/Deerwood Drive. Work has started on this project. The contractor has cleared trees and is relocating fire hydrants.

Darling Avenue/Maple Street. The preconstruction meeting was held July 21. The contractor is scheduled to start removals the week of July 27 and will start underground utility installation the week of August 3. The project completion date is late September.

Trunk Highway 29 (Broadway signal optimization study). The city was informed that MnDOT has conducted a signal optimization study for the signals on Broadway between 3rd and 50th Avenues and will be reprogramming the signals to better optimize the signal timing and cycle lengths. MnDOT plans on implementing the change in mid to late August.

MnDOT Municipal State Aid Street needs report. The city was informed last week that the Agnes Boulevard project will be featured on the cover and inside cover of the MnDOT's Fall Municipal State Aid needs report. This report is published twice per year and is distributed to all MnDOT districts and to all 148 state aid cities.

Food truck permits

The council issued permits to allow three mobile food trailers from Miller Concessions of Foley to temporarily set up in the Fleet Farm parking lot in south Alexandria.

In the application, Rob Miller said his trucks will bring the community together for a “small taste of the fair” that was not held this year because of COVID-19.

On a normal year, Miller Concessions would take part in Alexandria’s Ole Oppe Fest, the Rib Festival and the Vikingland Band Festival. Miller said his trucks follow all rules and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There will be signs posted outside of the food trailers reminding people about social distancing and employees will wear facial coverings and gloves when handling food. “A positive and safe experience of our customers is our top priority,” said Miller.

Emergency declaration extended

For the fourth time, the city 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 and June 22. Monday’s action extends it to Aug. 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.

Council member Todd Jensen said the extension doesn’t indicate his approval of Gov. Tim Walz’s action to continue the statewide emergency declaration, which he opposes.

Crazy Days are a go

Crazy Days in Alexandria are a go.

The council approved the request from the Downtown Merchants Association to allow the sidewalks sales on Aug. 6-8.

Merchants are already following COVID-19 guidelines and the extra crowd size will be manageable during the Crazy Days promotion, according to Pam Botker with the DMA.