The 5 neighborhoods of Alexandria will change – Alexandria Echo Press
ALEXANDRIA — At its Monday meeting, the Alexandria City Council gave preliminary approval to changing the boundaries of the wards represented by the five city council members.
State law requires that congressional, legislative, county, and city electoral district boundaries be redrawn every 10 years after the census.
The goal is to have roughly the same number of voters in each ward. City planner Mike Weber said that since the 2020 census pegged Alexandria’s population at 14,335, the ideal goal would be to have 2,867 residents in each of the five wards. He said the limits approved at the meeting are very close to that mark.
Ward 3 had the most accelerated growth, Weber said, which was caused by residential development that included Grand Arbor, Stone Manor and housing projects near Rosewood Lane. Wards 1 and 2 also saw significant population gains, Weber added.
The redistricting is also an opportunity for the city to review the locations of its polling places to ensure they meet Americans with Disabilities Act rules and legal requirements, according to Weber.
The city must follow a strict timetable for redistricting. He has until March 29, 2022 to finalize the new ward boundaries and new voting locations.
Once the city completes its work, Douglas County must finalize its county commissioner districts by April 29, 2022.
The council expects to pass a resolution on polling places at a meeting in March.
The changes the city is considering for neighborhoods include:
- The portion of Ward 1 (including Precinct 1) south and southwest of Agnes Boulevard, west of Broadway/North Broadway, and north of Sixth Avenue would be moved to Ward 5.
- The part of Ward 3 located west of North Nokomis Street would be moved to Ward 1.
- The portion of Ward 3 north of Third Avenue, north of the CP Railroad, west of McKay Avenue and east of North Nokomis would be moved to Ward 2.
- The portion of Ward 2 east of North Nokomis, south of Scenic Heights Road, west of Deerwood Drive and north of Northside Drive would be moved to Ward 1.
- The part of Ward 3 located west of the CP rail line would be moved to Ward 4.
- The portion of Ward 5, Sector 1, east of Highway 29 would be moved to Ward 4.
The city has maps of the proposed changes on its website:
Current map of city wards https://alexandriamn.city/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/COA-current-ward-map.pdf
Proposed Changes https://alexandriamn.city/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Redistricting-COA-2022.pdf
New proposed ward map https://alexandriamn.city/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/City-of-Alexandria-Ward-Map-2022.pdf
A public hearing was held before council voted 4-0 to give preliminary approval to the new lines, but no one spoke.
Street auction cheaper than expected
Tenders to complete paving work on eight local streets this summer fell short of expectations.
The council accepted Ferguson Asphalt Paving’s low bid of $350,739. This is well below the city engineer’s estimate of $400,739.
With engineering, the total project cost of the eight projects is $426,739.
The streets included in the work are:
- Jasmine Drive, from County Road 22 to the east end of the street.
- Abbygail Drive, from Jasmine Drive to Jasmine Drive.
- Derek Drive, from Jasmine Drive to Jasmine Drive.
- Benjamin Drive, from County Road 22 to Jasmine Drive.
- Walkways between Jasmine, Abbygail and Derek Drives.
- Highland Trail, from Latoka Drive to the east end of the street.
- Highland Court, from Highland Trail at the east end of the street.
- George Street, Nelson Street and Dale Street.
The total project budget is $436,779, including $321,779 from the 2021 Municipal State Aid Maintenance Fund allocation and $115,000 from the City Streets Program paving levy.
Pavements are important because they prevent roads from being in very poor condition, which would cost much more to repair, according to city engineer Tim Schoonhoven.
In previous meetings, Schoonhoven told council that local street improvements are “probably the least exciting but most important projects we do.”
Signs of spring bloomed at the Alexandria City Council meeting on Monday, February 28.
The council has issued three special event permits for events that will likely begin without snow on the ground:
- Alexandria Technical and Community College will be held on Wednesday, May 1 from 1-3 p.m. at the Runestone Community Center. The council agreed to close Fairgrounds Road and provide police services for traffic control and the setting up of cones and barricades. About 3,500 people are expected.
- The Red Willow Arts Coalition’s Summer Concert Series will be held Thursdays on the courthouse lawn from 7-8:30 p.m., May 26-August 25. A July 4th concert is also scheduled for Monday, July 4th. Barricades will be placed on Seventh Avenue West between Douglas and Elm Street for all concerts.
- “Art Mart” events, featuring live music and vendors, will return on Saturdays, May 28 through September 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Big Ole Central Park. The permit application was submitted by Carlson Music Center.
Taxi Ordinance changes approved
The council gave final approval to make changes to the city code, chapter 4.36, regarding tax taxis.
This will clarify the responsibilities of a taxi license holder if an event prevents them from having a licence.
It states that in the event of disqualifying circumstances, such as a felony conviction within the last 10 years or certain other criminal history, such as three or more traffic violations in one year, the city has the discretion to suspend or revoke the permit. In addition, failure to notify certain criminal convictions is also grounds for license suspension or revocation.
Change to revolving loan
The board approved an application from Hodie Rose, LLC – the owner of the Yesterday’s/Dashery building on Broadway – which last January received a low-interest loan of $60,000 through the Revolving Loan Fund from the city for a major renovation project.
The loan was part of a larger financing project that included private financing from Viking Bank. The owners are now refinancing the private loan through Amplio and the Small Business Association and have asked the city to grant the city’s loan subordination to the new refinanced loan.
The existing revolving loan fund loan is current and has a balance of $56,764.
The renovation project, estimated at $630,000, included an updated facade, roof replacement, interior renovation and a new rear entrance.