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In the Know column: Alexandria is ready for the holidays

Friday, Nov. 25 is the annual Christmas At The Fort and Downtown Lighting Ceremony. A new event, the Lights on Broadway Holiday Parade, will take place at 6 p.m.

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By Bobbie Osterberg, Alexandria mayor

Greetings all! An assortment of city activities and information follow. Enjoy!

The Nov. 8 election provides an opportunity to welcome and congratulate the city’s newly elected, Ward 4 council member, Nicole Mace. Council member Benson will represent Ward 4 until the end of 2022 then retire after 25 years of serving as an elected official. Council member Benson is a model of I.C.E. (Integrity, Commitment, Engagement) and stability.

The City Council recently approved the allocation of $600,000 of the city’s ARPA funds to be used as community grant funds. Guidelines, focus areas and applications will be available on the city’s website www.alexandriamn.city.

Alexandria will report a record-breaking new property valuation for 2022. This number comes from the value that is reported when a building permit is issued. The value of projects requiring a building permit is expected to exceed $125 million. This number is one of the benchmarks used to determine community growth. To put this in perspective, valuation from building permits in 2019 was $55 million. 2020 was $73 million and 2021 was $70 million. This additional new property valuation increases the community’s tax base and effectively minimizes increases in property tax.

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Amazing-Alexandria is achieving its "why." What is the why? “To make Alexandria the place you choose.” And who is choosing Alexandria and investing $125 million? The growth is across nearly all sectors of the city’s economy. Local, existing businesses and organizations such as health care, manufacturing, retail, public and private schools, restaurants, churches, and professional offices are choosing to expand in Alexandria. Homeowners are building new homes, remodeling homes, adding a deck, and new multi-family housing projects are being built. New businesses and neighbors are continuing to choose to re-locate to Alexandria.

October was Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. While much of life in Amazing-Alexandria is amazing, not everyone who lives here gets to regularly experience “amazing.” UCAN, Someplace Safe, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department and local businesses generously sponsored domestic violence awareness events. The Minnesota 2021 Clothesline Project Exhibit was available for viewing by participants at the Take a Stand and the luncheon events. The Clothesline Project is a visual, moving and painful memorial to the lives of the 22 women, two children and two men that were lost in 2021 as a result of intimate partner homicide.

ALP Utilities and city crews will be hanging the festive holiday decorations. This is my official start to the “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” It’s the signal to start singing holiday songs at the top of my lungs while driving (alone) through downtown. Be on the lookout for the one Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer decoration. Where will it be?

Friday, Nov. 25 is the annual Christmas At The Fort and Downtown Lighting Ceremony. A new event, the Lights on Broadway Holiday Parade, will take place at 6 p.m. All are welcome. There is no entry fee. Businesses, families and friends are encouraged to get creative. Prizes will be given to the float with the "Most Christmas Spirit" and "Brightest Lights."

Parade participants should email their intent and contact info to: info@alexandriamn.org. More event details are on Facebook (search for Lights on Broadway Holiday Light Parade) or contact the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at: 320-763-3161.

The CP Holiday Train is back after a two-year absence. It will arrive at 11:30 a.m. in Alexandria on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Eighth Avenue East crossing by Hubbard Milling. All are welcome. Please bring a donation for the Outreach Food Shelf.

So many ways to get engaged in Amazing-Alexandria. Whatever the name of the holiday you celebrate, celebrate with a grateful, joy-filled heart.

Bobbie Osterberg is the mayor of Alexandria. " In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.

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