Letter: Stop complaining and get involved

Published 9:30 pm Monday, August 6, 2018

As you’re out and about in the community, read comments on various news articles or generally interact in public, you hear a few comments about our community being a dying community and chasing off commerce. There is usually one question I ask that gets to the bottom of the matter. “What have you done to improve our community?”

Albert Lea has almost 20,000 residents, the majority of whom are decent, hard-working, friendly  and generally good people. They are our town’s greatest asset. And many, many people have taken up various causes in our community to make it better. They may have taken up a role in Save Our Healthcare or the holiday lights committee. Many are involved in ALEAP to get the tools to start, or build, their business and provide jobs and commerce. Others have run for office or applied to the various committees and commissions in our local government. Many others donate their time and efforts to local causes they believe in, such as the Humane Society or through service organizations like the Rotary Club. The list of causes is endless, and all contribute to a better community.

Each of these causes plays their own small role in making our community a wonderful place to live. When you add up the hours of each individual, then each organization, and tally the results, you end up with a community that knows how to get things done! And that is why we’re not a dying community!

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We have a beautifully restored downtown with very few vacancies and businesses that are each unique and personal to Albert Lea. Our community has many parks for our enjoyment, whether you want a wedding or concert at Fountain Lake Park, to host a party at Edgewater pavilion, skate at our outdoor rinks or for kids to play on the fun playgrounds. We have more job openings than we have people, so there is no shortage of jobs. Our lakes are getting rejuvenated.

Making a thriving community is not somebody else’s job. It is your job. If you are the person complaining about no jobs, no opportunity and a dying community (if that is what you truly see, because most of us residents sure don’t), then be the one to step up and be part of the solution rather than complaining. Stop complaining about our “community leaders” and become one.

Thank you to each of you who has made our community better. We still have many problems to solve. We could use more professional, higher-paying jobs. We need answers to a housing shortage. We still have our problems. Every community does, though. And it is only by turning these complaints around — to echo JFK’s famous quote (with a minor tweak) “Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community” — that we will solve those problems.

Brad Kramer

Albert Lea