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Soldier statue finds new home: It will move from courthouse to new Veterans Memorial Park

A Civil War soldier statue, erected in 1916 on the lawn of the Douglas County Courthouse, is moving to Legion Park, which is the site of the new Veterans Memorial Park. (Echo Press file photo)

It's a done deal. The statue of a Civil War soldier that has stood on the lawn of the Douglas County Courthouse for more than a century will soon have a new home — the new Veterans Memorial Park, at the corner of Broadway and Eighth Avenue in downtown Alexandria.

Construction of the new park is expected to start next spring, according to Veterans Memorial Committee members Gabe Pipo, Jim Conn and Russ Oorlog, who presented information to the Douglas County commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday.

A letter from the committee members to the commissioners stated that a fundraising goal of $989,000 was established to construct the Veterans Memorial Park on land that is owned by the city of Alexandria.

From April through September, the committee has received cash donations and pledges of $438,410. It is projecting another $255,000 in future cash donations and in-kind assistance from individuals and businesses.

The cost to move the bronze statue, according to Oorlog, is estimated at $25,000, which the committee members asked the county to pay for.

Commissioner Keith Englund made the motion to go ahead with the project and that the county would pay up to $25,000 to move the statue from the courthouse to the new park.

The motion was unanimously approved.

Pipo said the statue, which was dedicated in 1916 and in place near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Elm Street for 102 years, is in "very pristine condition."

In other board action

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved the following actions:

• A conditional use permit to Jeffrey Roquette, Lake Mary Township, to allow a CNC machining business in an existing building.

• A conditional use permit to Douglas and Cassie Neilsen, Osakis Township, to allow a bait and tackle shop in an existing building.

• A Douglas County Zoning Ordinance as it relates to requirements for compliance inspections of septic treatment systems in agriculture and rural residential zoning districts.

• A final plat of O'Ryan Estates, owned by James and Julie Bosek.

• Installing a pumping station and draining a wetland area on County Ditch 21.

• The cleaning of County Ditch 4-16.

• Filling a Veterans Services driver vacancy.

• A resolution honoring volunteer firefighters around the county.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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