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Rainbow Rider to build bus garage in Alexandria

The public transit company says it has outgrown its current location in Lowry.

Rainbow1
Rainbow Rider provides bus service for six counties in the region.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo

ALEXANDRIA — The public bus system, Rainbow Rider, will soon be rolling into a new bus garage in Alexandria.

It received a conditional use permit from the Alexandria City Council Monday night to build a 20,000-square-foot, 18-stall garage, which also includes a service bay, wash bay and a meeting room for training.

The garage will be located on a 10.42 acre site at the northeast corner of the intersection of Latoka Lane SW and West Winona Road.

In the permit application, Rainbow Rider representative Tom Partington said the company has outgrown its present site in Lowry. “This will provide storage for enough buses so drivers won’t have to drive to Lowry, get a bus, then drive to Alex for the route,” he said.

Rainbow Rider serves six counties in the area. Its current garage was built for six buses but houses nine, according to Partington. There are 14 to 15 buses running in the Douglas County area.

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The new site is perfectly located, Partington said.

For three and a half years, Rainbow Rider has been trying to get approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to proceed with the project and it finally received it, Partington told the city’s planning commission.

The garage will be served with sanitary sewer. Connection fees and the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District’s wastewater expansion fee will apply.

The permit approval came with several conditions — a building permit and sign permit is required, Rainbow Rider must provide half of a parking stall per 1,000-square-feet of bus storage, exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from residential uses and public streets, and a final drainage plan must be reviewed by the city engineer. The building must also connect to ALP Utilities and the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District.

Rainbow Rider hopes to begin construction this fall and move into the new garage in 2023.

The cost of the project will be covered through the six counties Rainbow Rider serves through a joint powers agreement — Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Todd and Traverse.

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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