Albert Lea man raising money for water fountains

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

While watching his son play soccer at Lakeview Park last summer, Albert Lea parent Nick Hanke noticed there were no drinking fountains.

He hopes to ensure that is not the case in the future and is raising money to install drinking fountains at City Beach, Lakeview Park, Morin Park and Academy Park.

As part of the fundraising mission, there will be a comedy show at 8 p.m. April 20 at Wedgewood Cove, featuring Willie Farrell. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show.

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He hopes to raise $2,800 to install water fountains by donations and ticket sales.

Hanke recalled directing people who needed water at Lakeview Park to local gas stations.

“I think it’s almost like a need, almost like a basic need,” he said.

Hanke said Phil Wacholz of the Albert Lea Engineering Department told him the city would install the drinking fountains if Hanke raised the money.

Wacholz said drinking fountains are needed in the community.

“In other communities they probably are more common,” he said.

Wacholz credited Hanke for reaching out to the city before raising the money for the project and expects the project to be complete this summer.

“For instance, Morin (Park), you always see people out there playing basketball all summer long — no shade on the basketball court, that’s a high-priority spot, so that’s one potential location,” Wacholz said.

Hanke said his oldest son informed him the team runs from Albert Lea High School to the water fountain outside Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea so they can drink water halfway through the trip, noting it could be advantageous to have more drinking fountains available for recreation.

Interested individual or business donors can contact Hanke at 507-383-5000 or email him at

About Sam Wilmes

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

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