Children play under a parachute with Albert Lea Parks and Recreation staff Tuesday during a rededication of the park. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Children play under a parachute with Albert Lea Parks and Recreation staff Tuesday during a rededication of the park. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Renovated Fountain Lake Park is rededicated

Published 10:10am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Albert Leans young and old alike on Tuesday celebrated the rededication of Fountain Lake Park with games, food and entertainment.

The night marked the completion of more than $4.5 million in downtown improvements that began last summer. The cost of the park portion was about $400,000.

“This is going to enhance not only the current people but the future,” said Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen.

He described the park as the center of an hourglass that connects two community gems — Fountain Lake and downtown Albert Lea.

Contractors transformed the park to include a grand staircase and a handicapped ramp leading from Fountain Street into the park.

The ramp is less steep than the former sidewalk and includes railings on both sides. The staircase, which is the feature of the park, will double as seating for concerts or other events held in the area, including the Fourth of July fireworks.

On the east side of the park is a rain garden set up to collect water coming down Broadway from Clark Street. Mulch will be installed by Friday, and native grasses, flowers and other wetland plants should be planted next week, said City Engineer Steven Jahnke.

To the west of the rain garden, a sidewalk allows people to walk down to the shoreline of Fountain Lake, and at the end of the sidewalk is a 64-foot long T-shaped dock that is estimated to fit between eight and 10 boats.

“I think it turned out really nice,” said one resident, John Neff. “It really classed it up. It seems more inviting, and I think it’s going to be packed come the Fourth of July.”

The band Riptide performed at the event, and Albert Lea Parks and Recreation staff led children in a series of activities, including jump rope, parachutes, temporary tattoos and hopscotch.