10 nonprofits to share $300,000 in 'Enhance Alexandria' grants
The Alexandria City Council has another allocation of $300,000 in grant funds that will be distributed this fall.
ALEXANDRIA — Ten nonprofits and government agencies in Alexandria will receive “Enhance Alexandria” grants that were announced at Monday night’s Alexandria City Council meeting on Feb. 27.
The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA, that the city received in 2021 and 2022 for COVID recovery.
Round one grants were awarded to:
- West Central Minnesota Communities Action — $75,000.
- Someplace Safe — $60,000.
- Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County — $50,000.
- Alexandria Senior Center — $46,470.
- Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota — $25,000.
- Alexandria Area YMCA — $16,000.
- The Village Family Service Center — $10,000.
- Central Minnesota Elder Network — $7,500.
- Life Connections — $5,000.
- Red Willow Arts Coalition — $5,000.
The grants address many needs in the community – affordable housing, free and reduced-cost behavior health care, senior citizen facilities and services, childcare and community art, according to city leaders.
Combined, the round one grants total just under $300,000.
When the new grant program was announced in December, city officials described the funding as another way to enhance Alexandria’s welcoming community effort.
The selection process used a rubric based on the requirements in the grant application. Projects that were funded identified clear and specific outcomes, and were in one of the three priority areas:
Housing – affordable housing, workforce housing, homelessness.
Arts — public art, art that connects.
Other (included but not limited to) — child care, senior citizens, student housing.
The council received 26 requests for over $1.35 million and were able to fund 25% of the total dollars requested.
"I couldn’t be more proud or pleased,” said Mayor Bobbie Osterberg in a news release. “City staff, the budget committee and City Council worked hand in glove on allocation of the ARPA funds. Federal funds awarded to the city are going directly to agencies that provide life-changing services to citizens of our community through the competitive process of the Enhance Alexandria grant program.”
Osterberg added that the Alexandria community is blessed to have partners that believe collaboration is a way to make things happen. “Participants have proven that Alexandria is a community of integrity, commitment and a willingness to engage for the good of others,” she said.
The council has another allocation of $300,000 in grant funds that will be distributed in round two. A “letter of interest” deadline is in November of 2023 and the priority areas will remain the same.
Although round-one applicants are not excluded from applying for round two, the council would like to see a wide range of grant recipients. Details can be found on the city’s website.
Alexandria received more than $1.5 million in ARPA funds. In October 2022, the city council approved using $600,000 of those funds to be distributed back to the residents of the city through the Enhance Alexandria grants.
Following are other items from the Feb. 27 meeting not included in other council coverage.
An effort to make Alexandria a sustainable community
During the public comment period, retired school teacher Julie Berger of Alexandria, who is a member of the Citizens for a Sustainable Future, urged the council to make Alexandria a sustainable community. Her group's vision statement is, "Working together to make the Earth, our home, healthy for all who follow." She asked the city to hire a sustainability coordinator. Many cities have done so, she said, even ones with smaller populations than Alexandria.
Go kart license renewed
Go kart racing in Alexandria received the green flag for its 2023 season.
The council voted to renew the motorized vehicle racing license, two cylinder engines or less, for the Runestone Go Kart Association .
The season starts Friday, May 5 with a test and tune, and continues every other Friday through Aug. 25. A “points night race” is set for Sept. 19 followed by “King of Dirt” races on Sept. 22-23.
City seeks airport consultant firm
The council agreed to begin the process of reviewing and selecting an airport consultant for the Alexandria Airport for the next five years.
Every five years, the Federal Aviation Administration requires airports that receive federal funds to select airport engineering firms that will represent the airport in the spending of federal funds.
Alexandria’s current engineering firm is TKDA, which has served in that capacity since 1998. The agreement with TKDA expires on March 31, 2023.
The city’s airport commission, airport manager and city administrator will meet to review and score the proposals.
Gambling permit for motorcycle group
The local chapter of American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education , known as ABATE, received a one-day off-site gambling premise permit.
It will conduct a raffle at an event at the Runestone Community Center on Sunday, May 21.
Tobacco license approved
The council approved a 2023 tobacco license application from Fog Tobacco Plus, doing business as Alexandria Tobacco Shop at 4911 Hwy. 29 S, Suite 105.
The application lists Adnan Safi of North Oaks as the contact person for the business.
The council approved the license on a 4-1 vote with Scott Allen voting against it. He wanted more information about the company's other locations and if they've failed tobacco compliance checks.
Two appointed to fire department relief association
The council appointed City Administrator Marty Schultz and Mayor Bobbie Osterberg to serve as the city's trustees for the Alexandria Fire Department Relief Association.
The bylaws of the department require the council to appoint one elected official and one elected or appointed official on an annual basis. The fire chief also serves as a municipal trustee.
Donation helps fire department
The council accepted a $50 donation from Susan Luedtke that will be deposited into the fire department’s operating fund and used to offset a portion of the cost for thermal imaging equipment.