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Big plans emerging for Alexandria Area YMCA

The property behind the facility may be developed with a new street, water tower and other improvements. YMCA leaders are also looking into adding a splash pad, an outdoor pool, outdoor field space for soccer and softball, and perhaps more indoor space.

YMCA Raod.jpg
Karl Drive, a driveway off of County Road 82 that serves as the entrance to the Alexandria Area YMCA, may soon be reconstructed as a full-fledged city street, 36-feet wide, with curb, gutter and a possible sidewalk. It will also provide access to YMCA's property to the north. A master plan for that area is still being worked on but could include a splash pad, an outdoor pool, outdoor field space and perhaps indoor space.
Al Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA — Expect a lot of activity by the Alexandria Area YMCA soon.

The property behind the facility, to the north, may be developed with a new street, watermain, sanitary sewer, water tower and other improvements. YMCA leaders are also looking into adding a splash pad, an outdoor pool, outdoor field space for soccer and softball, and perhaps more indoor space.

YMCA leaders have been talking to different user groups to see how the YMCA can partner with them and the city.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council approved the YMCA’s request to subdivide partially developed unplatted land on its property on County Road 82 at the intersection of County Road 45, where a new roundabout will be built. A preliminary plat, “Karl Addition,” was also approved.

The 60-acre site is partially occupied by the existing YMCA facility.

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The preliminary plat proposes to create a public street right-of-way for Karl Drive, which is presently a private driveway. This would provide access to the land behind the YMCA.

The plat shows the new street entering from the south, and proceeding north to serve a 0.94-acre parcel that will be conveyed to ALP Utilities. The street then turns west to extend to the newly created parcel and will end with a turn-around area.

The new street would likely be 36-feet wide with curb, gutter, and a possible sidewalk, according to City Planner Mike Weber. The city hasn’t received comments from Douglas County about having a sidewalk installed along County Road 82 but it could be included in a developer’s agreement, he said.

A 16-inch water main will be extended from Karl Drive to a new water tower on the site.

Plans are tentative at this point. The YMCA is in the middle of a master site plan and a final design hasn’t been determined.

The subdivision was approved with five conditions:

  • Separate and independent connection of each lot to public utilities as per ALP/ALASD requirements.
  • Final utility and drainage plans must be submitted to the city engineer for review prior to final plat approval.
  • Proper evidence of title to be submitted to the city attorney’s office.
  • A developer’s agreement must be executed prior to release of the final plat for recording. The agreement must include a schedule for the proposed improvements as well as any cost sharing or assessment.
  • Waiver of the park dedication requirements since this is a commercial site.

No city funds will be used for the project.

Permits for Art in Park, Memorial Day parade

Art in the Park is back.

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COVID-19 canceled the last two years of the annual arts and crafts event that takes place in Alexandria City Park.

At its Monday night meeting, the Alexandria City Council approved a special event permit for Art in the Park, which is a major fundraiser for the Andria Theatre. It will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the two days.

Another big event, the annual Memorial Day Parade and Celebration, also received a special event permit.

It will take place on Monday, May 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Broadway. The parade will begin at Second Avenue and Broadway and will continue south on Broadway, ending with a program at Veterans Memorial Park.

The council approved one other special event – the May in Mental Health Month Walk set for Friday, May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Participants will walk on the sidewalk along Broadway from 1106 Broadway to City Hall and back at 1106 Broadway, Vikingland Community Support.

New audio equipment purchased

Those attending city council and other meetings at City Hall, including via Zoom, may soon be able to hear the proceedings better.

The council agreed to purchase two wireless microphones, a gooseneck microphone and a lapel microphone; two wireless boundary microphones; and cable management and adjustments.

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The total cost is $18,834 and will be funded through the city’s IT equipment fund, which has a balance of $39,831.

New speed limit sign on Voyager Drive

The problem: Drivers going too fast on Voyager Drive by Voyager Elementary School.

A possible solution: a solar-activated speed limit sign.

The council agreed to purchase the sign for $7,521.

The idea came from council member Bill Franzen and county commissioner Charlie Meyer. They expressed their concerns about the speeding problem to Tim Erickson, county engineer, and Tim Schoonhoven, city engineer, talked to Superintendent Rick Sansted and Voyager Principal Dana Christenson regarding the speeding. They were generally supportive, Schoonhoven said.

Several other approaches have been tried on Voyager Drive, such as crossing guards and added enforcement, but nothing seems to have helped.

"Ultimately, it's up to drivers to slow down," said Mayor Bobbie Osterberg.

The programmable sign will be similar to the one at Alexandria Area High School and will indicate a reduced speed during school hours.

Other items from the highway committee:

  • Schoonhoven updated the council about the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s concerns about the sidewalk along The Rune on Broadway and Third Avenue. MnDOT’s right-of-way permit for the sidewalk work has expired and MnDOT is “very interested” in seeing the sidewalk reopened, Schoonhoven said. MnDOT is preparing a letter to the construction manager, CI Construction, addressing this issue.
  • Schoonhoven gave an update of the roundabout construction on County Road 45 near the YMCA. The project is rapidly moving forward. Erickson anticipates construction starting in mid-summer, just after the county fair.

Council supports LGA provisions

The council authorized City Administrator Marty Schultz to write a letter to local legislators urging them to support key provisions for local government aid.

The letter will advocate to increase local government aid by $90 million and to make changes in the LGA formula that will benefit smaller cities, such as Alexandria.

The League of Minnesota Cities supports both measures.

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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