Plug pulled on Tow Truck Pull fundraiser in Alexandria; council concerned about COVID-19

Council members concerned that event would send the wrong message that city is "wide open to party" during pandemic.

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A team at last summer's Douglas County Car Care's Tow Truck Pull inched a tow truck forward while raising money for the program that provides vehicles and vehicle repairs to families in need. (Echo Press file photo)

Last year, the Douglas County Car Care’s Tow Truck Pull raised $6,000 to help low-income people get used vehicles or vehicle repairs.

Because of COVID-19, the event won’t happen this year, or at least not as planned.

At Monday’s meeting, the Alexandria City Council voted 3-2 to deny Douglas County Car Care’s special event permit.

Council member Roger Thalman, who made a motion to deny the permit, said allowing the Aug. 8 event would send a message that the city is “wide open to party” at a time when some health experts are predicting that a second wave of the virus is going to “hit like a forest fire.”

Thalman said he supports Douglas County Car Care but added “we’re not out of the woods yet.”


Council member Todd Jensen disagreed, saying that life is slowly starting to get back to normal and people could use common sense to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Thalman said he understands that people want to get back to normal but the “new normal” may be two years down the road.

Kris Chisholm, director of Douglas County Car Care, told the council that the event would abide with Centers for Disease Control and public health guidelines. Masks, hand-washer stations and sanitizers would be available.

Last year’s event drew less than 250 people. This year’s event might have attracted a bigger crowd, however, since it was set to take place at the same time as Downtown Crazy Days.

The event would have taken place on Sixth Avenue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Besides the Tow Truck Pull, it would’ve included a block party, a kids’ zone, a food truck alley and live music. No alcohol would have been served.

When the council asked Chisholm what would happen if new health guidelines would stop the event, he said the Car Care program could transition to a different kind of fundraiser.

Thalman’s initial motion to deny the permit failed to get a second. After more discussion, Jensen made a motion to approve the permit and Bobbie Osterberg seconded it, and it was defeated on a 3-2 vote. Thalman, Dave Benson and Bill Franzen voted against it.


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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