Edgewater Cottage savers forge deal with City Council

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A cottage and seating area at Edgewater Park the city had wanted to demolish now appears on the path to renovation.

The Albert Lea City Council approved an agreement with the Cloverleaf Lions Club for the fundraising and repair of the Edgewater Cottage. The agreement outlines benchmarks the club must reach, and if the conditions are met, renovations could begin in April, weather permitting, with completion slated for next fall.

Areas of concern are the basement floor, the footings, the roof, the floor, the deck, the siding, the windows and the interior decor, according to City Inspector Doug Johnson in a previous interview.

Email newsletter signup

“We’re jumping up and down,” said Bob Goldman, one of the organizers. “We’re very happy we can do it.”

Goldman and neighbors Tony Trow and Kim Hanson set out last summer to save the building. The men talked about going to the cottage as children, and in the years since with their own children and grandchildren.

This far, they have raised a little more than $10,000 in cash donations and still need between $30,000 and $35,000, Goldman estimated. He said community members have donated between $60,000 and $70,000 of in-kind donations.

He hoped the council’s action on Monday would encourage people to continue contributing to the effort.

The agreement states the club has to provide building plans to the city by the end of the year, and they will be reviewed by the city’s parks director and building official.

Before April 1, 2014, it must show proof that it has the supplies, materials and funds to complete the project, and then once this is completed, the group will have six months to complete the project.

The building will be closed to the public during renovations, and once it is finished, the city will maintain it.

According to historical records, Edgewater Cottage originated as a farmhouse.

Freeborn County Historical Museum records indicate at one point the owner of the house operated a nearby pigeon farm or squab ranch. The home later became the home for Louis Kroessin, a harness maker and poultry farmer, and then was owned by Samuel Sorenson.

In 1925 or 1926, the city of Albert Lea acquired the farm.

The upper story of the house was removed and the lower part was converted into the present Edgewater Cottage. At one point, it even sold concessions, including ice cream.

A deck with a view of Edgewater Bay was added after 1975.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, can be made out to the Albert Lea Chamber Foundation and mailed or brought in to the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, 2580 Bridge Ave., Albert Lea MN 56007.