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County and City of Alexandria Hold Joint Meeting

Posted: 03/23/2021

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments, Public Works

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The Douglas County Board of Commissioners and the Alexandria City Council are looking forward to improving safety on a much-used road, providing lighting on a roadway near an elementary school, and working together to efficiently use federal funds under the American Rescue Plan.

The commissioners and city council members met Monday, March 22 for what has become an annual meeting to discuss issues that impact both entities. Chairman Jerry Rapp and Mayor Bobbie Osterberg led the discussion.

Those in attendance appeared to wholeheartedly approve of a proposal to widen County State Aid Highway 46 out by the Viking Plaza Mall. On its east-west corridor it’s also referred to as 34th Avenue. Tim Erickson, the Douglas County Public Works Director and Engineer, also proposed adding a 10-foot- wide multi-use path from south Broadway east to the railroad tracks on that stretch of road.  This would make foot traffic safer along the entire corridor including past the two mobile home parks and one apartment building just to the west of the tracks.

Erickson also discussed a coordinated effort between the city of Alexandria, Douglas County and ALP that would provide street lighting on CSAH 46 (also known as N. McKay Avenue) near Discovery School.

The group did not reach agreement on changes to a permitting issue that impacts contractors and landowners doing construction projects within the two-mile radius. County Board Chair Jerry Rapp shared that contractors do not appreciate having to get both a land use permit from Douglas County and building permit from the city.

Discussion also continued on the much-debated land swap on the fairgrounds. The city, the county and the Douglas County Fair Board have yet to reach agreement on how to move forward. All three sides expressed a strong desire to find common ground in the near future.

Commissioner Charlie Meyer raised concerns regarding a road project that would connect 18th Avenue from Jefferson Street to Broadway and install a stoplight. Meyer said the stoplight at 17th Avenue and Broadway is critical for those leaving Alomere Health and trying to turn south. He said he believed there would be support for keeping both stoplights even if they’re just one block apart.  City Administrator Marty Schultz said no work is scheduled in the immediate future and said MnDOT is currently considering a corridor management plan that could impact projects on South Broadway.

Schultz also updated commissioners on the proposed expansion of the Runestone Community Center and shared his hope the city and county can work in coordination to distribute the millions of dollars in federal funds that will be available through the American Rescue Plan.

Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen and Alexandria Police Chief Scott Kent began the joint city/county meeting by announcing that together, their departments successfully responded to an extremely volatile scene in recent weeks. The two shared they will be presenting letters of commendation to the officers involved. This will be the first time the two law enforcement agencies have jointly issued letters of commendation.   

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