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Why I love Albert Lea

Why I love Albert Lea by Jenny Davis

 

I’ll be honest with you. Growing up, I didn’t think Albert Lea was anything special. I specifically remember visiting from college and thinking, the less time spent here, the better.  You see, I was a sophisticated college student studying in Mankato. I had seen the world (west of Albert Lea) and knew there was something better out there. 

Yet, as so often happens with age and experience, our perceptions change, our views grow. Maybe Albert Lea really wasn’t so bad. Maybe Albert Lea was, in fact, what many people long for in a community: good schools, beautiful parks, friendly people, safe, affordable and fun. 

Fast forward many moons, and I now work with Albert Lea Parks and Recreation. As one might imagine, I am partial to all things parks, recreation and leisure related. And what does Albert Lea have an abundance of besides water? You got it! Parks, recreation and leisure.

You doubt me? I’ll begin with parks. Forty-five (wow) beautiful developed and undeveloped pieces of glorious space. When my children were younger, it was nothing for us to walk to a park, the next day visit another and so on. In my neck of the woods, I had four parks easily within walking distance. 

Then you have the big power players, Edgewater and Bancroft Bay — two of my faves! My esteem for Bancroft Bay is so great that I was married there. What it lacks in a playground, it makes up for in open space and beauty. And there are all sorts of little secrets to discover.

As for Edgewater, it’s probably safe to say it is on most Albert Leans’ lists of favorite parks. On any given day you may see people out walking their dogs, fishing, enjoying the playground equipment, docking their boat, enjoying a bonfire, playing ball and watching movies (it’s a Park and Rec thing). It is the place where so many memories are made. Pavilions in the park have hosted family reunions, weddings, baptisms, celebrations of life, graduation open houses, birthday parties, church services, class reunions and who knows what else! 

On to recreation and leisure. If you believe there is nothing to do in Albert Lea, then you may want to adjust your mindset. Searching for an event, class or program? Look no further than the always-awesome Parks and Recreation. But don’t forget Community Education, YMCA, Senior Center, library, churches, youth associations, school district, local businesses and more. All of these groups are putting on events, programs and opportunities for people in our community, many of them free or at low cost.

In short, the reason I love Albert Lea is because of the great opportunities for people in the area to recreate and parks to visit year-round. If I haven’t convinced you that there are fun things happening here, then go explore. Scour social media, websites, brochures and flyers for your next fun activity. If that fails, locating all 45 of our city parks should keep you busy.

 

Jenny Davis is the recreation program supervisor with Albert Lea Parks and Recreation. She lives in Austin with her husband, Ben, and three children, Owen, Scarlett and Willa. She enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, traveling and reading.