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Letter: Why is Albert Lea becoming a ghost town?

Speaking with a city employee recently, he made the comment that this city is slowly becoming a ghost town. I have to agree with that idea, as in the 20 years I have resided here, nothing has been done to improve the economy here. Business after business has left or closed due to no attempts to keep them here. Locally owned hardware stores are gone and several restaurants have closed because no one can afford to use these  businesses because we no longer have places of employment as the surrounding cities have. Austin, Owatonna and Mason City are places that have reached out to businesses by offering to help to employ their people. If you do not have a labor force available, it is because we cannot keep  young people here as we have nothing to offer them in the way of employment other than flipping burgers at Mac and Dons. In the last few years, the city has had the opportunity to have several new businesses come to this area, but our City Council did nothing in the way of helping them to come here. Every one of them would have provided jobs and tax revenue needed in Albert Lea instead of the 8% increase falling on homeowners.

I personally have spent several thousand dollars improving my home, but will not be allowed to finish the work outside, which I paid a permit for several years back. It is this kind of mindset that keeps from happening to improve our city that was once a vital, bustling city with businesses supplying jobs, a future and tax revenue. Why is this city going backward? Who has the key to lock up and turn out the lights when the last business leaves for a more progressive city? That is why our former assistant city manager went to Oregon — to work with people with foresight, not in stagnant surroundings.

Jim Jirele

Albert Lea