The property owners who lost their buildings in Alexandria’s downtown fire in February 2020 will receive financial help from the state.

At its Monday meeting, the Alexandria City Council agreed to distribute a $120,000 state grant it received in fire remediation funds to the three owners as follows:

  • $63,628 to Camille and Andrew Rassat for the buildings at 504 and 506 Broadway, which housed Raapers Eatery and Ale, along with RM Tattoo, Hidden Treasures Collectibles and Comics, and Achieve Wellness chiropractic center.

  • $41,698 to Wilhouse Properties LLC for the building at 510 Broadway, which housed Little Darlings Children’s Boutique.

  • $12,960 to TVW LLC for the building at 508 Broadway that included Charlie’s Bazaar.

The amount requested for the state grant was based on information submitted by the property owners and will fill gaps in what each owner received from their insurance companies versus the actual cost of demolition and remediation, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

“Although rebuilding has begun on one of the parcels (Charlie’s Bazaar), the distribution of grant funds will hopefully open new avenues toward the redevelopment of the remaining parcels,” Schultz said in a memo to the council.

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Filling the insurance shortfall amounts to $118,286 of the $120,000 grant. The city will use the remaining $1,714 to help defray the $4,800 expense the city incurred to repair a sidewalk damaged during the fire.

Schultz thanked the property owners who testified in support of the bill that contained the funding and credited Representatives Mary Franson and Paul Anderson, and Senators Torrey Westrom and Bill Ingebrigtsen for getting it approved in the Legislature.

“Their efforts in keeping this bill alive during the session was critical to passage,” Schultz said.

Agreement for school resource officers

The council approved a new agreement for providing school resource officers for Alexandria School District 206.

The Alexandria Police Department has been providing police services for the district since the 2015-2016 school year, which included a three-quarters time officer at both Discovery Middle School and Alexandria Area High School.

Under the agreement for 2021-2022, the district will pay $115,317 for both officers. This year's officers will be Ryan Cook and Brandon Plumski, according to Police Chief Scott Kent.

The Alexandria School Board is scheduled to consider the agreement at its meeting on Sept. 27.

The city will provide two police officers and all necessary police equipment, including vehicles. The officers will be stationed full-time on the campus of the schools for roughly six hours per day. Their primary function, according to the agreement, is to “take all necessary steps and employ all lawful and accepted police measures to ensure the protection of life and property at the schools.”

Other services:

  • Enforce federal, state and local criminal laws and ordinances, and to assist school officials with the enforcement of Board of Education Policies and Administrative regulations and guidelines regarding student conduct.

  • Investigate criminal activity committed on or adjacent to school property.

  • Consult with public school students in special situations, such as students suspected of engaging in criminal misconduct, when requested by the superintendent or his/her designee or by the parents/guardians of a student.

  • Answer questions and conduct classroom presentations for students in the law related education field.

  • Assist other law enforcement officers with outside investigations concerning students attending the school(s) to which the police officer is assigned.

  • Arrange security for special school events or functions, such as parent meetings, athletic events, dances, and other large functions or assemblies at the request of the superintendent or his/her designee.

  • Provide traffic control during the arrival and departure of students on an as-needed basis.

Halloween fun awaits

A Halloween Parade organized by the Vikingland Community Support Program will take place Sunday, Oct. 31, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The council approved a special event permit for the parade, which will begin at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and will follow Fairgrounds Road to Fillmore Street, and end at Ninth Avenue. The route is about 0.8 miles long.

Organizers requested police security and barricades or volunteers may also be used.

More races approved

The council agreed to all the Alexandria Viking Speedway and the Runestone Go-Kart Association to hold two additional racing events this fall.

The speedway’s Demolition Derby was canceled because of a thunderstorm on Aug. 20 so it was rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2.

The Go-Kart Association added an additional race date, Friday, Sept. 24, to replace races that had been canceled because of bad weather.

West Central Initiative gets city’s support

West Central Initiative provided $1.25 million in grants and nearly $500,000 in loans to businesses and nonprofits in Alexandria since January 2020, according to an annual report given by Samantha Van Wechel-Meyer, a development specialist for WCI.

For the last several years, the city has provided $8,000 to support WCI. The council voted to authorize the contribution again for 2022.