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Three big projects in Alexandria get zoning approval

They include a dependency treatment center, a big apartment building for families and an expansion of the Runestone Community Center.

Kuepers Apartments.jpg
A new 49-unit Kuepers, Inc., apartment building received a conditional use permit from the Alexandria City Council Monday, Sept. 27. (Contributed)
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Three major developments received zoning approval at Monday night’s Alexandria City Council meeting.

One is a faith-based dependency treatment center that will serve up to 74 persons.

Another will build a three-story, 49-unit apartment building with 101 parking stalls, trees, a dog park and an on-site play area.

The third project is more familiar: It will expand the city’s Runestone Community Center by 84,100 feet.

Here’s more information about each project:

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Dependency treatment center

The Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge Center’s planned unit development application received preliminary approval, along with a conditional use permit and a zoning district application.

It will be located on a 14-acre site at 525 Willow Drive on the northwest shoreline of Lake Winona. It was the home of Dr. William Heegaard and his wife, Josie.

The project consists of five parcels which will be combined. One parcel is located in LaGrand Township so the center will have to petition to annex that property into the city.

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge Centers offer a broad range of services. It provides Christian faith-based, residential care to young people and adults who struggle with life-controlling problems.

The center will include 19 units as well as a chapel, dining hall, kitchen, a half-gym, classrooms, fitness facilities, staff offices, parking, and other accessory uses. About 30 staff members will work at the center.

TeenChallenge plan.jpg
The Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge Center’s planned unit development is located on the northwest shoreline of Lake Winona. (Contributed drawing)

Sam Anderson, director of a similar center in Brainerd is listed on the land use application, along with Station 19 Architects in Minneapolis.

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According to its website, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge offers treatment and recovery programs including outpatient, both telehealth and in-person; licensed residential programs (seven to 90 days); long-term recovery (12 months) and more. The programs are for those seeking treatment for the first time to those who have been struggling with addiction for years.

Those entering in the program are expected to pay for it. However, if they do not have insurance or need financial assistance, they could go to the county and apply.

In a letter to the planning commission, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, supported the project. As a former sheriff, Ingebrigtsen said he’s seen first-hand what drug and alcohol abuse does to individuals and families.

“The life changing success of this program is known state wide,” Ingebrigtsen said.

New apartment building

The council issued a conditional use permit allowing Kuepers, Inc. to build the market-rate apartment complex in a 3.99-acre site south of the Westfield Apartments, northeast of Apol’s Harley Davidson near the 42nd Avenue intersection.

The project also calls for three detached garages.

The owner also owns the Westfield Apartments and is listed on the land use application as Heritage Property Development in Alexandria, represented by Tim Wagner. Christopher Raimann from Kuepers in Brainerd is also listed on the application.

According to the City Planner Mike Weber, city code required 2,500 square feet of land per unit for multiple family buildings. This site has about 174,000 square feet, which would allow up to 69 units, 20 more than the proposed amount.

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City code requires the developer to pay $500 per unit, in this case, $24,500, which will go to the city’s public parks and recreation facilities.

Runestone Community Center

The council approved the city’s conditional use permit to add 64,100 square feet on the main level of the center and 22,000 square feet on the upper level.

The addition will add event space that will also serve as a third sheet of ice.

There will also be additional storage, meeting rooms, a new entry, team rooms, restrooms, offices, figure skating space and a new main circulation area that connects the three rinks together.

The site is located at 802 3rd Ave. W., on the south side of the Third Avenue/County Road 82 intersection, north of Viking Speedway.

The city’s plan calls to expand the RCC on its southwest corner, along with improving the roads – Third Avenue, Fairgrounds Road and eventually Latoka Drive – and making the entire area more attractive and usable on a year-round basis.

Parking will be expanded by adding 412 stalls.

During a planning and zoning meeting about the project, Thomas Betti with the 292 Design Group said the expansion will provide more dry floor space, which he said is a big need in the community. He said it would allow the RCC to hold some of the bigger shows. The arena will have seating for 600 people.

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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