ShineFest spruces up lake

Published 9:15 am Monday, August 18, 2008

Out of a love for the lakes and a desire to give back to the community, two dozen people gathered Saturday to clean up around Albert Lea Lake.

Put on as a joint project between the Lakes Foundation and ShineFest, the cleanup gave volunteers the chance to pick up trash along the shore of the lake and to even work on a beautification project.

Across from Frank Hall Park on Front Street, one group of people planted trees in what will soon become a new park next to the channel. The beautification project is a joint project between the city and the Lakes Foundation of Albert Lea.

Email newsletter signup

Lakes Foundation Chairman Bruce Haugsdal said the foundation’s committee is giving the city $3,000 in matching funds for the project.

Gravel and dirt were brought into the area to level it out, and then volunteers planted 12 trees. The city is planting grass seed, and when it’s completed there will be picnic tables out for people to use.

“It’s a great little project to make the city look that much better,” Haugsdal said.

“We want to leave things better than we found them. We live in such a beautiful city, and we just want to do what we can to make it better.”

One volunteer, Robin Russell, said she decided to volunteer at the cleanup because it was helping to make Albert Lea more beautiful.

“It’s fun to see so many people want to make something better,” Russell said.

Plus, it makes her want to be near the lakes even more, she said.

While the group planted trees, another group of people walked along the shores of the lake to pick up trash and debris left behind.

Roger M. Nelson with the Lakes Foundation said the first year the cleanup was organized the group pulled out more than 1,000 tires from the lake. The second year more than 100 appliances were pulled out.

Nelson said the satisfaction in participating in the cleanup comes in the fact that people are now able to catch walleye and game fish that they would have not otherwise been able to catch in years before.

The lake cleanup was one of several events to take place Saturday at the end of a week of ShineFest events throughout the community. ShineFest comprises members of several Albert Lea churches.

Throughout the week volunteers gathered in their signature yellow T-shirts to work on projects at the local schools and to give away clothes to needy families.

On Saturday was an American Red Cross blood drive, a Salvation Army food and clothes drive, and an oil change and ShineFest family store for those in need.

Young and old alike volunteered their time to give back to their neighbors.