Community celebration planned at Morin Park

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Organizers hope to raise funds for shelter at park

A celebration event is planned for Sunday to mark Morin Park no longer being a possible spot for a proposed new Albert Lea fire station. A group of community members want to instead move forward with hopes the city will build a shelter at the park.

The event — free and open to the public — begins at 6:30 p.m. at Morin Park and will feature live music from DaboFlai, Jeshua Erickson, Aaron Winter, Ariel Winter, Elisha Andrew Marin and The Activists. Concessions and a bouncy castle will be available, as well as a free-throw and half-court shot contest and prizes. Donations for the construction of the park shelter will be accepted.

The event comes after the Albert Lea City Council unanimously approved moving forward with Blazing Star Landing and East Main Street as possible locations for the planned $7 million to $10 million fire station on July 10.

The Rev. George Marin of Grace Christian Church is aiming for $17,000 to be raised to build the 30-by-30-foot shelter, though he hopes the city of Albert Lea will fund the project.

“The money is there,” he said.

Marin — who helped launch the “Save Morin Park” Facebook page shortly after the council discussed the park as a possible spot for the proposed new fire station — said Morin Park is an extension of downtown Albert Lea — a section of the community the city has renovated in recent years.

He said placing the fire station at the park would have gone against central themes the community adheres to, such as Albert Lea being a place to live, work and play, and Blue Zones and SHIP initiatives to improve community health. The construction of a park shelter would benefit the entire community, Marin said.

“We’re not just happy that we saved Morin Park — now we’re pushing to build a 30-by-30-foot  beautiful park shelter there,” he said.

Grace Christian Church hosts at least three summer picnics per year at the park, as well as church services.

The pastor’s son, Elisha Andrew Marin, said he notices families use the tents that are set up for their events.

“Every time we do that — every time we drive by there — there are families under that tent, and they are having picnics,” he said. “They are getting out of the sun — it’s just a good thing for that community.”

The park features playground equipment and basketball courts that are used all of the time, Elisha Andrew Marin said.

“It’s a good way for the city to invest in that neighborhood,” he said. “It’s something that will certainly be used.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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