Bridge fundraiser slated for June 26

Published 10:20 am Friday, June 4, 2010

The date has been set for a fundraiser that is designed to raise money to replace the small bridge leading to Dress Island. The bridge was deemed unsafe and ultimately removed in April. 

The Albert Lea Knights of Columbus, Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club and Albert Lea Lakes Foundation — with the help of two Albert Lea City Council members — are organizing the fundraiser, scheduled for June 26, which will go toward outfitting the island with a new bridge, new benches and possibly other amenities, too. The groups also hope to raise money to replace railings on the Blackmer footbridge, which crosses over where Wedge Creek enters Dane Bay. 

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker said the fundraiser will go from 4 to 7 p.m. June 26 at the Knights of Columbus. There will be hamburgers and brats from Nick’s in Hayward and salads from Mrs. Gerry’s.

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The groups will start selling tickets next Thursday. They will be available at Celebrations Party & Gifts, from members of the Knights of Columbus, Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club and the Lakes Foundation and other City Council members. 

Baker said the replacement bridge to Dress Island — also known as Hanson Island and Monkey Island — is currently being built at Alamco and may possibly be done next week, and if not that week, the next. 

The project is in the middle of a 30-day comment period with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that is required before getting a permit. Baker hoped this comment period would be closed in time to get the permit and install the bridge before the July Fourth fireworks show. 

The efforts come after an anonymous donor stepped forward to donate a substantial amount of money to the project. 

Dress Island — also known as Hanson Island and Monkey Island — is a popular place to fish and for people to sit to watch Fourth of July fireworks. 

The former bridge to the island, which was installed in 1976, was primarily paid for by the local Knights of Columbus.

Donations can be mailed to Bridge Project c/o Fountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, P.O. Box 524, Albert Lea MN 56007.

People can also visit for more information.