Guest Column: Why I love Albert Lea

Published 2:56 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

Cindy Gandrud works at Albert Lea Public Library. She enjoys volunteering in the community.

People, people, people — one of the main reasons I love Albert Lea. Born and raised here, I returned, after a seven-year absence, and have remained for 38 years. Wherever I go in town, I meet people I have known since childhood, others not as well-known and others strangers. And what do they have in common? Friendliness! Caring! A desire to help others!

The downtown: I love to walk there, seeing the new stores and shops that have taken over the stores of my youth. Though Woolworths, Ben Franklin, Skinner Chamberlain, Gordon Electric and the Medical Arts building, to name a few, are no longer there, storeowners have remodeled with respect for the past. The beautiful pots and hanging baskets of flowers add so much to our city as do the outdoor benches and chairs.

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The farmers market: How I love to see what is new each week, both in food and vendors. Adults and children have many items they can purchase. And, some weeks, free samples are offered. I appreciate the vendors who work so diligently to prepare their vegetables, other foods and crafts.

The library: I may be prejudice because I work there, but I have always loved the library and what it offers for people of all ages. As a child, I remember climbing the steps of the Carnegie Library to enter the children’s library, where I would spend the whole afternoon if allowed. Now, one can visit the library to enjoy its many programs, check out items and use computers. Along with all this, you can sit and read a newspaper or magazine while looking out the windows at beautiful Fountain Lake, one of Albert Lea’s treasures.

The city parks: I love the parks and how well cared for they are. My dog is a big fan of them, and her tail wags a little faster and a little higher when we walk there, rather than just in our neighborhood. They offer a great place for picnics, family gatherings and outdoor activities.

Volunteers: I love our community of volunteers, who are so dedicated to the needs of people of all ages and in all situations. Everywhere you look, people are helping people.

Support: I love the way citizens step up to support, whether it be for an organization on street corners for worthy causes, for the renovation of the cottage at Edgewater Park, caring and giving at the time of a tragedy and the list could go on and on.

The nursing homes: I love that Albert Lea cares for its senior community in providing lovely places for those who can no longer live in their homes. All the facilities have staff and volunteers who love what they do and give so much to the residents.

New things: I love that Albert Lea continues to offer new adventures. Wind Down Wednesdays, Thursday night concerts on Fountain Lake, the boathouse and the splash pad have grown in attendance and usage in just a few years of existence.

Animals: I love that Albert Lea cares about animals. We have a dynamic Humane Society, a dog park and, as you walk your dog or your cat, receptacles containing doggie bags and a wastebasket.

We each have our own reasons for loving Albert Lea. What will your reasons be?