Guest Column: Why I love Albert Lea

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Why I Love Albert Lea by Bob Furland


Albert Lea is home — it is where I grew up and where my wife, Sue, and I were married. This is where my children Thomas, 25, and Timothy, 23, grew up and graduated from Albert Lea High School. My entire family lives in this area: my mom, Ruth; my dad, Russ; and my three sisters, Laura, Sarah and Annie.

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When I was in high school, I could not wait to leave Albert Lea.  It was not until after I was married and had children that I realized the amazing quality of life that Albert Lea has and I was missing.

One of the many reasons I love Albert Lea is that it is a safe community and a great place for families. There are so many things for young families to do that have zero cost or cost very little. Many of the things my family enjoys now, I enjoyed as a young person growing up here — play parks, playgrounds, parks, fishing, ice skating, canoeing, biking, hiking, the state park, the wonderful lakes, and I still look forward to the Freeborn County Fair every year.

Athletics in Albert Lea were great! My kids could play all sports. Thanks to so many committed and caring volunteers who spend nights and weekends volunteering on athletic boards and/or coaching youth teams. We do not have professional coaches, but we do have great people who work with local youth and have taught my kids valuable life lessons. I am lucky, as part of my job I get to work with so many organizations that give children opportunities and create a bond of friendship among families.

Albert Lea has many people who try hard to create a great place to live and a strong sense of community. Today, as I write this article, Gilbert Johnson and the volunteers of Chapel Con are working hard to put on a great event at the arena that will be attended by thousands. All the festivals and special events are awesome and make our community special. Lately, I was lucky to be part of the Rock ’n’ Roll the Lakes bike ride. What a great group of 70 volunteers who came together to build a fun event and bring cyclists from around the Midwest together. All of this shows how dedicated many in our community are.

Can you believe the Governor’s Fishing Opener is in Albert Lea next year? This is an event that cannot happen without hundreds of volunteers.

I love the downtown area — it is the place to be. It is always busy with cars, bikers, walkers and young families at the splash pad. I love seeing people sitting in front of businesses socializing, eating and enjoying the summer.

I work for the city of Albert Lea. Earlier this year the city of Albert Lea was named one of southeastern Minnesota’s Best Places to Work. The city has so many dedicated employees who care about each other and the community. Everyone is willing to help as needed. I am lucky to be a small part of such a group.

Albert Lea has much to offer with something always going on. The challenge isn’t to find something to do, but choosing what to do.


Bob Furland is the recreation manager for the city of Albert Lea. He is on several boards: the Albert Lea Family Y, Albert Lea Area Cyclists and the Governors Fishing Opener.