Home of 2nd Ward is where the heart is in Albert Lea

Published 3:52 pm Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guest column, by Robert Hoffman

Asking the voters of the 2nd Ward, the heart of Albert Lea, for their votes to become their next City Councilor was clearly a choice I am proud to make.

Robert Hoffman

Robert Hoffman

It takes the pride and understanding of the 2nd Ward to know you can be their next city councilor. The 2nd is the only ward to be completely surrounded by all the other wards, a ward without a border to the city limits — the heart of Albert Lea.

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It is a ward that contains our growing medical center and a downtown now on the cusp of thriving again. The site of the first cabin built in Albert Lea lies in the 2nd Ward near our now even more popular Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. Ward 2 is a the heart of Albert Lea’s main thoroughfare; the intersection of Broadway and Main and many parks add beauty and activity to our central location. There are the great neighborhoods and avenues like those off of Clark and Fountain streets and off of Lakeview Boulevard. It has to be clear that you have the passion it takes to represent Albert Lea’s 2nd Ward, the heart of Albert Lea.

Recognized Landmarks like Jake’s Pizza helped hold up the 2nd Ward’s businesses and new stars like the 112 on Broadway, Between Friends Boutique and the Copper Kitchen are paving the way to even more growth. What will we see next in the heart of Albert Lea?

As goes the healthy heart of a community so does the rest of it. The strength of a community lies in its overall well being, as we’ve learned through our continued Blue Zones Vitality Project participation. To see Albert Lea thrive moving forward, we need an invested, knowledgeable and well-spoken person representing Ward 2 and Albert Lea as a whole with energy, enthusiasm, education and experience. Someone who will add the spark of professionalism, personality, passion and pride to start the fire that fuels the flames and drives the positive economic inertia we need to see the Albert Lea we’ve all dreamed it could be.

Great futures are only reaped from strong past’s plantings. I am a former paper boy, Department of Parks and Recreation participant, Boy Scout, Student Council president and track captain.

I worked for years as a playparks leader and Little League coach and referee. The last three mayors, Randy Erdman, Mike Murtaugh and Vern Rassmusen, appointed me to the Albert Lea Planning Commission where I served as the chairman and vice chairman. I have had the honor of being an Elks board member, Chamber Ambassador and, despite not having any children of my own, currently serve on The Children’s Center board of directors.

Having managed over 240 rental units in Albert Lea and owning my own property management company, I also have the honor of serving on the state board of directors for the Minnesota Multi Housing Authority. Owning a historic downtown building and apartments has allowed me the opportunity to currently serve as the Downtown Heritage Preservation Committee’s chairman. These are all still only the early plantings of a great future serving Albert Lea.

Having a strong history with the community and wanting to see its success and growth are a few pieces of my strength and experience. I will add a lot as a councilor with my experience of selling and inspecting hundreds of homes home, managing over 240 rentals, owning and investing in rental properties and commercial retail space, selling local apartment complexes and, most recently, the sale of the former Walmart building.

I am proud of my experience and feel I have earned the opportunity to serve Ward 2, the heart of Albert Lea. I own a growing small business in the heart of the newly established diversified central district and am very invested in the community through volunteering as well as real estate and business investments.

We have family and friends in every corner of Albert Lea. I have strong relationships and a great deal of experience shared with the current leaders of Albert Lea and, better yet, the emerging leaders who will soon shape our future successes.

With the leadership of a new city councilor who understands home is where the heart is we can soon get past “that’s how we’ve always done it” and with pride move onto “that was then; this is now.”

We have to keep our home, Albert Lea, in good repair. There are many great issues to take care of in the near future, but if we don’t see the retention and growth of great Albert Leans, we will not face great issues, only issues. I humbly ask for your consideration and vote on Nov. 4 and look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Albert Lea resident Robert Hoffman is a real estate broker and property manager.