Boathouse becoming a reality

Published 9:15 am Monday, May 3, 2010

Construction has started on the Brookside boathouse and Experiential Learning Center, adjacent to the boat landing on West Richway Drive.

The boathouse, a project of Albert Lea Area Schools’ Community Education, will house canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for Community Education’s Experiential/Environmental Learning Program, serve as a trailhead for the shared user path around Fountain Lake, and a gathering space for gardeners and community members, hopes Community Education Director Chris Chalmers.

“This project began with a vision to introduce people, especially youth, to our local environment,” said Chalmers, “and one of the most effective ways to do that is to get them out enjoying that environment.”

Email newsletter signup

Last week the concrete footings for the boathouse were poured. The structure itself will be made out of timbers, from northern Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail, donated by community members Margaret Ehrhardt and Kenny Perkins.

Many area organizations and community members have donated money, time and supplies to the project, including: Albert Lea Lakes Foundation, Freeborn County Communities Foundation, The Albert Lea Audubon Society, Innovance, Maple Island Park Association, Al Larson, Larry Wangen, Northcott Wood Turning, Ryan Palmer, Home Solutions, Richards Wood Products, and Ulland Brothers. Donations and volunteers are still needed to complete the project. For more information contact Chalmers at 379-4834 or

“People will take care of what they understand and appreciate,” said Chalmers. “We are so fortunate to have Fountain Lake in the heart of our community, and as we begin to take back the lake and restore it, we need to engage people from an environmental perspective.”