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Alexandria has new policy for naming rights at baseball fields, park

This is related to the action the council took on July 25 when it agreed to support a community fundraising initiative to improve parks and fields.

03-Knute Nelson Crowd-DSC_2002.JPG
In its lone game in the Northwoods League in 2022, the Alexandria Beetles drew a crowd of 1,207 people on June 30 at Knute Nelson Memorial Park. Each summer the Willmar Stingers play a game at Knute Nelson Memorial Park as the Beetles.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo
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ALEXANDRIA — At a Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting, the Alexandria City Council adopted a naming rights policy for Knute Nelson Memorial Park and the Fillmore Park/Dean Melton Field.

This is related to the action the council took on July 25 when it agreed to support a community fundraising initiative to improve parks and fields. The Alexandria Youth Baseball Association is leading the effort. The city has not contributed any direct funds to the campaign.

The policy states that the city names facilities to honor and recognize organizations or individuals who have either supported the park facilities through distinguished effort or substantial financial contributions of at least $50,000.

Facilities include buildings or parts of buildings, such as concession stands, scoreboards, restrooms, batting cages, field lighting, stadium seating areas, locker rooms, dugouts or press boxes. Naming rights may also include outdoor areas — patio seating areas, the playing field, walkways, parking lots or playgrounds.

All requests for naming rights must be submitted to the city in writing to the city staff for review. A committee will also review a request and make recommendations to the park board. The park director will submit their recommendation to the council.

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The physical display of the name will be decided or negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Naming rights will normally be in place for no longer than 15 years. The council and park board may allow exceptions. Naming rights may be renewed by mutual agreement by all parties.

The city reserves the right to terminate naming rights, without refunds, before the scheduled termination date. The named party may also terminate its acceptance of the naming rights before the termination date.

The Alexandria Park Board recommended the council to approve the AYBA fundraising with one stipulation — the name, Knute Nelson Memorial Park, must remain as is.

The following items are from the Aug. 11 meeting that were not included in other council stories.

MnDOT wants to replace 4 bridges on I-94

At the request of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the council agreed to send a letter supporting MnDOT's application to receive a federal grant to replace four bridges along Interstate 94.

The bridges are located east and west on I-94 over the Canadian Pacific Rail and over County Road 23.

Homecoming parade gets green light

The Alexandria Area High School’s Homecoming Parade will take place on Friday, Sept. 30 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

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The council issued a special event permit for the parade, which will start at the Fairgrounds and continue to Broadway and down to 12th Avenue to Jefferson Street, ending at the Alexandria College parking lot.

Police officers will provide traffic control and barricades and cones will be set up.

Organizers have also applied for a parade permit from the Minnesota Department of Transportation because Broadway is also a state highway.

About 2,000 participants are expected to attend.

The council also issued a special event permit for the “Feeding of the 5,001” event that will take place Saturday, Aug. 27 from 2 to 9:30 p.m. at Common Ground Coffee House.

It will offer free food, a car show and music.

Hawthorne Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue will be blocked off for the event.

‘Welcoming’ assessment

The council learned some highlights from a "Welcoming and Inclusive Community Assessment" that was conducted in Alexandria by the University of Minnesota.

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The city’s Cultural and Inclusiveness Committee helped with the assessment.

Kelli Minnerath, a member of the committee, showed the city a chart that measured how inclusive various groups are in Alexandria, based on surveys. For example, the school system and law enforcement had a high level of inclusion while local government and religious organizations had a low level.

"There are some things we're doing right and definitely some things we could be doing better, " said Mayor Bobbie Osterberg.

For more information about the assessment, watch the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s one-hour virtual “Listen and Learn” on Wednesday, Aug. 31 from noon to 1 p.m. The event is open to everyone and is free of charge. Register by visiting the Alexandria Chamber website at alexandriamn.org .

West Central Initiative’s impact

The West Central Initiative continues to make a difference in the Douglas County area, including Alexandria, according to Samantha Van Wechel-Meyer, a development specialist for WCI.

She presented an annual report about WCI’s activities. Some highlights:

  • WCI administered 31 COVID grants in the region from the Department of Employment and Economic Development totaling $345,000.
  • Since 1986, WCI has provided 655 grants totaling $4.2 million in Douglas County and loans totaling $8.9 million.
  • Projects assisted by WCI include the Early Childhood Initiative, Leadership Alexandria, Safe Routes to School, COVID resiliency fund grants and distribution of Small Business Relief Grants.

For more information about WCI, go to WCIF.org .

3M Day in Alexandria

The council proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 13 as “3M Day” in Alexandria.

The proclamation notes that 3M opened its Alexandria abrasives plant in 1967 in a temporary plant and moved a year later to its present location at 2115 South Broadway. The original building was 60,000 square feet and has expanded six times to its current size of more than 320,000 square feet.

The company employs nearly 400 people from Alexandria and the surrounding communities.

The company also gives back to the community, the proclamation said. It supports K-12 education, health and human services programs, arts and culture and the environment. Employees also volunteer in local projects such as Math Counts, Lego League, Earth Day, Science Fair, YMCA, Habitat for Humanity and the food shelf.

Liquor sales allowed at hockey games

The council gave final approval to a change in city ordinances that will allow on-sale liquor licenses to the Alexandria Blizzard, a junior league hockey team, letting the owners serve strong beer and wine at the Runestone Community Center during Blizzard games.

Without the city knowing about it, the state Legislature passed a law this past session saying that the city "may" issue a license to the owner of a junior league hockey team.

Past practices at the RCC has been for the Blizzard to contract out the liquor service at the RCC to a local on-sale liquor license holder that also has a state-issued catering license.

City staff determined that having the city issue the license directly to the provider is better than having the liquor served through a vendor hired by the junior team that has a catering license.

The license will only be in effect for junior hockey games, players aged 16-21, and excludes high school hockey games. Alcohol would only be available for those 21 and older and must be consumed in the RCC.

Other events at the RCC would still need to use a different vendor for alcohol service.

In related action, the council approved The Blizzard LLC’s request for an on-sale beer and wine licenses at the RCC.

The license will run the duration of the season – October 15, 2022 to March March 3, 2023. There is a potential for more home games if the Blizzard advance to the playoffs.

New IT employee

The council welcomed its first-ever full-time Information Technology specialist, Maureen Miller.
She lives in the Carlos area and she said she's excited about the opportunity of her new position.

Transient merchant license

The council approved an application for a transient merchant license from Brandon Hetland of Osakis.

Hetland, who is also a real estate agent in the area, will be going door-to-door offering fiber internet to residences.

The application was reviewed and approved by the police chief.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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