Editorial: Tribune wishes a year of unity, growth in area

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Like most years, this year in Albert Lea and the surrounding area, state and nation was filled with highs and lows.

Albert Lea had a landmark year with the start of the dredging of Edgewater Bay on Fountain Lake and the sale of a portion of the former Freeborn National Bank building. Both projects have been a long time coming, and we’re glad to see them finally come to fruition.

Out of all other locations in the state, Albert Lea area lakes were selected for the 2019 Governor’s Fishing Opener, which promises to be a great opportunity to showcase not only our lakes but also the other things that make the community a great place to live.

Albert Lea’s community events continue to grow, including Wind Down Wednesday, Thursdays on Fountain, The Big Freeze and others. Albert Lea also continues to get recognized across the nation in rankings as one of the Top 10 Affordable Small Towns Where You’d Actually Want to Live and as one of the top 50 cities to live, according to national publication 24/7 Wall Street. Myre-Big Island State Park was named the eighth top tourist attraction in southern Minnesota. 

Riverland Community College was awarded $10.2 million in state bonding dollars to relocate its truck driving and collision programs from Austin to Albert Lea, which will continue to strengthen the college, and, in turn, the community.

The city also saw the opening of several small businesses and the continued growth of the downtown.

Mixed in with the good, however, were moments of challenge for the community. There were the announcements of Herberger’s, Sterling Pharmacy and Shopko Pharmacy closing their doors. There was a long and somewhat divisive local and state election season. There was sickness, injury and even the passing of many loved ones in the community. Some of these challenges were beyond the community’s control.

As we move forward into 2019, we encourage the community to do all in its power to make this year one of Albert Lea’s best. Let’s come together with the purpose of strengthening the community and encouraging growth. Let’s be kind to our neighbors. Welcome those who are new to the community and continue to befriend the longstanding members the same.

Be a part of positive change.