New siren to be installed at Douglas County Fairgrounds

The old siren has failed to sound and rotate for the last few months and during the civil defense warning test.

Tornado Warning Siren
Tornado Warning Siren in Gathering Storm
Darryl Brooks/dbvirago -

ALEXANDRIA — At its May 22 meeting, the Alexandria City Council voted to replace an outdoor warning sign at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

It approved a $20,815 quote from Granite Electronics . The money will come out of the capital improvement fund, which has a balance of $902,746.

The old siren has failed to sound and rotate for the last few months and during the civil defense warning test during severe weather week, it completely failed, according to city officials.

The siren was installed in 1970 and is one of the few that doesn’t have battery backup.

“This would be an upgrade to our emergency warning system,” said Fire Chief Jeff Karrow, the city's emergency management director, in a memo to the council. “The storm and tornado season is approaching and we should have this operational. We truly do know what the benefits of having outdoor sirens in the county are after our wind/tornado events of 2022.”


There are currently 10 sirens in the city and 36 throughout the county.

Following are other items from the May 22 meeting that were not included in other stories about the council.

West Central Initiative issues over $1M in grants, loans

The West Central Initiative issued more than $550,000 in loans and another $525,000 in community development grants in Alexandria in 2021.

That's according to an annual report from WCI's Samatha VanWechel-Meyer. She updated the council on a variety of programs the WCI has been involved in recently — access to child care, Safe Routes to School grants, a new world democracy program for community leaders and more.

WCI, a nonprofit agency, provides assistance to nine counties. Its mission statement is, "Serving to improve west central Minnesota through funding, programs, and technical assistance."

Blowin’ Smoke licensed

The council issued a mobile food truck license to Kyle Brundage of Moris for Blowin’ Smoke LLC.

Brundage included a required certificate of liability insurance and a state health license in his application.

Water main extension proposed for Latoka Lane

ALP Utilities requested to call for bids on a water main extension on Latoka Lane from the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District to West Winona Road.


The extension is needed to serve the mew Massman Automation and Rainbow Rider properties.

The project is estimated to cost about $270,000.

Revolving loan request approved

At the recommendation of the city’s Budget Committee, the council approved a request from Brandon Johnson on behalf of ALJ Management to subordinate a city revolving loan.

The loan, which was originally made in 2014, was for improvements to the former Alexandria Music store at 606 Broadway, which became the Sugar Shack.

This original loan was $36,974 for a term of 15 years at an interest rate of 6%, which matched the private financing. The loan is secured by a mortgage in a junior collateral position and by the separate personal guarantees of Brandon Johnson and Vern Anderson. The city’s original loan was junior to Bell Bank (the originating lender), and is now junior to Bremer Bank via a subordination approved by the council in May, 2018.

The loan is current and the payoff after the April, 2023 payment is $20,111.

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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