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Letter: Albert Lea not what it once was

I came to Albert Lea nearly 20 years ago because I remember it as a vital, bustling city with a good hospital, thriving businesses and young people, where young women could be trained to be great nurses. Many, including cousins and friends, were trained there. The city was supported by several businesses that no longer exist here. Over the years, kids got an education and stayed here. Today, because Dr. Meyer helped sell our hospital to the Mayo system, we no longer have that fine medical facility because it was pulled out from under us, losing one of the largest employers in the city.

Our present mayor has recently written an article asking we support small business. It takes employment for people to be able to have money to support anything. What this city needs is large employers to establish a wider tax base, not a Mickey Mouse economy, which is all that exists in this city. We have had several businesses looking at this area, but our mayor and City Council did nothing to get them to come here. In a conversation with the assistant city manager, who just left to go to Portland, Oregon, area, he said he had given up and would welcome working with people who were looking ahead and not become stagnant in their outlook.

This city has lost close to 20 businesses in the time I have lived here as our mayor is employed by the Mayo system, therefore is not really concerned that our young people are looking elsewhere for employment, because flipping burgers is a dead-end job.

Also, we need businesses to support the financial expenses of the city, not another nearly 8% preliminary raise in taxes that the City Council just passed. Though I guess not many of the people read the news, as the local paper is published two times a week due to poor high costs.

Let’s hope that when it’s time to elect a new mayor and Mercy is established here, we will have some persons here with a better outlook for once was a thriving city, not one that is on its way to becoming a city of closed and locked doors. I had my say. It is up to the rest of you now.

James R. Jirele

Albert Lea