People gather in support of CottagePublished 9:53am Friday, August 17, 2012
About two dozen Albert Lea residents came together Thursday night to brainstorm ideas for raising money for the Edgewater Cottage.
The cottage, which sits right off of Edgewater Bay in Edgewater Park, is facing major disrepair and needs several improvements.
Though the building has not yet been slated to come down, city officials are continuing to evaluate it. City officials are not renting it for 2013 until they see how it survives the winter.
“It’s been a part of a lot of the older folks’ life in this town,” said organizer Tony Trow. “We just couldn’t bear the thought of losing it.”
It was the first official meeting for people interested in taking part in saving the building, which opened in 1927, after being remodeled from a former farmhouse.
He said the cottage and Edgewater Park itself came to fruition with the foresight of business owner Bert Skinner.
Two of Skinner’s granddaughters were at the meeting Thursday and expressed gratitude for the work being done.
“It’s a thrill,” said Jane Skinner Peck of Minneapolis. “It’s wonderful, especially to include my grandfather in it.”
Skinner is also known for starting the Skinner Chamberlain department store in what is now known as the Brick Furniture building.
Trow said the cottage holds many memories for Albert Lea residents, whether it was for church, work or family gatherings.
“It’s pretty clear if we don’t save it, it’s gone,” he said.
Coreen Johnson talked of coming to the cottage and nearby pavilion for vacation Bible school for the last eight years. She said there’s an average of 70 children who attend.
“I have not talked to anyone who is not supportive of this cottage staying,” Johnson said.
Trow said he and the other organizers plan to get an engineering firm to look at the problems and figure out what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost.
In the meantime, those interested in saving the building are forming into committees to focus on future meetings, fundraising and other areas.
The group is seeking corporate sponsors as well as donations from residents. They hope to give presentations at local service groups to get more people involved.
If people would like to make donations a fund has been set up through the Albert Lea Chamber Foundation.
If people have questions, they can contact Trow at 383-9282.