Vision begets vision; city in a good ‘catch 22’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 4, 2004

To those people who think Albert Lea is stuck in the dark ages &045; or some earlier time &045; take a look around.

Though it takes months, even years, for an economic development project to come to frutition, the effort is ongoing. Case in point, the announcement last week that Quality Pork Producers will expand in Albert Lea. According to the story published in the Tribune, the project has been simmering for several years.

That’s how it goes sometimes with economic development.

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For those residents who think Albert Lea leaders are backwards-thinking folks, take another look.

The city waste water plant is the first in the state &045; read it again, the first in the state &045; to use Capstone Microturbines to produce energy to run its facility.

Alliant Energy started the discussion in 2002 as it sought a renewable energy customer for a conservation program. The utility company found that customer with the city.

One could argue that Alliant is the only benefactor here, however, last year’s installation of the turbines has netted a $40,000 to $60,000 savings for the city.

Better yet, the use of the turbines, cutting edge stuff, is attractive to companies looking for a home because they are looking for cities with vision.

Creating vision takes innovative thinking which comes from people with a vision. It’s a good &uot;catch 22&uot; to be in. It begins with leaders in the community, not just city leaders, but business people and residents, who find ways to improve efficiency, as is the case with Alliant Energy and the city.

It also begins with people looking for the strengths of Albert Lea and asking, &uot;how might we build upon these strengths?&uot; A community is made better because all its people care about the future.

Take a look around &045; Albert Lea is a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Farmland disaster.