Albert Lea’s new hangout

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Though wood, woodworking equipment and scaffolding occupy the new pavilion at Edgewater Park, a look at the interior gives a clear idea of the new facility. Alamco Wood Products built the trusses that cross the ceiling. See a photo gallery of the new pavilion at -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

In just a few short months, people wishing to rent space for a reunion, work party, fundraiser, wedding reception or other get-together will have a new space to do so.

The Edgewater Bay Pavilion, which is in the north part of Edgewater Park, is nearing completion.

Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Director Jay Hutchison estimated about 85 percent of the work has been completed on the new facility. The city will begin renting out the pavilion in May.

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About 3,300 square feet, the pavilion is classified as a three-season facility, which offers views of Fountain Lake through large windows. Made of cedar lap siding and limestone on the exterior, the pavilion’s interior will include a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, tables and chairs, a fireplace and a series of large chandeliers.

It can accommodate 180 people.

Restrooms, which can be accessed from outside, will be available to the public even when the pavilion is in use. They operate with a septic system.

Hutchison said the entire cost of the project was about $600,000, including the pavilion, a new parking lot and a new climbing playground structure, which will be installed to the west of the pavilion.

He said the city is fortunate because a majority of the project is going to be paid for with leftover 2009 state bonding funds that were used to clean up the former Edgewater Park landfill site.

During that clean up, the former pavilion and playground were torn down.

Hutchison noted he didn’t think the city was going to be able to use the land for recreational purposes for 10 to 20 years, but when the city was notified otherwise, he began working with state Sen. Dan Sparks and then-state Rep. Robin Brown at the time to secure the extra money for the building.

Albert Lea’s own Alamco Wood Products constructed the trusses and other woodwork of the structure. The trusses are striking on the interior of the building as they cross the ceiling. City employees presently are working on the interior woodwork, such as kitchen cabinetry.

He said the city has goals to eventually add other amenities at the site, including a patio with tables and chairs and maybe even a space outside the pavilion where weddings can be held.

“I’m seeing this used as a gathering place,” Hutchison said.

The facility will be available to rent from May through October each year. If someone wants to rent the pavilion during the winter months, special arrangements would have to be made.

The Cottage, also in Edgewater Park, is still standing as well; however, it is beginning to suffer from foundation and structural problems, Hutchison said. At the rate it is going, the Cottage will only stay open for another year, at which time city staff must make a decision about what to do with this building.

To find out more about renting the facility, people can call the Parks and Recreation Department at 377-4370.

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