Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

Published 8:50 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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To area firefighters who battled fires this week.

Thank you to the firefighters throughout Freeborn County who fought fires this week.

The area was under a burning ban a few days throughout the week because of low humidity, higher temperatures and high winds.

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Seeing how quickly a field burned Friday afternoon off of Freeborn County Road 17 was a reminder of just how high of a risk the area was in and how fast a fire can get out of control in the right conditions.

Thanks to those who risked their own safety to protect the safety of all of us and for working diligently to protect the homes and other structures nearby.

To the city’s agreement with Larson Contracting for the new inclusive playground.

We were pleased to see the Albert Lea City Council take action Monday night to approve an agreement with Larson Contracting for work at the upcoming inclusive playground planned at Edgewater Park.

Larson Contracting will be donating its time as construction manager and purchasing agent for the project and will be working with other local companies for groundwork and building of the project.

We encourage other local contractors to also get involved through an in-kind donation to help this project come about.

A group of residents made up of parents of children with disabilities, as well as special education teachers, therapists and city staff, has been fundraising for the park since fall 2021.

The playground would be a space that allows everyone, regardless of ability, a chance to play.

The fundraising group thus far has raised about $750,000, of the $1.25 million cost.

While the group is getting closer to the goal, it still needs more support to come to fruition.

To the last of the ice melting on Albert Lea’s Fountain Lake.

Everyone in Albert Lea was in no doubt happy this week to hear that the last bit of ice on Fountain Lake had melted.

Local resident Mark Malepsy monitors the lake every year and said this year’s ice-out was pretty typical. Last year, the ice-out date was April 6.

The earliest the ice has ever melted was March 7 in 2000 and the latest was April 27, which happened in both 1951 and 2018. The ice has never lasted into May.

With the ice melted it feels like spring is officially here.

We look forward to more outdoor activities and seeing all the great things that happen in the community at this time of year.

To the redevelopment challenge for the former Hobby Shop building downtown.

We are watching with interest as the city of Albert Lea, Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau come together to offer a redevelopment challenge for the former Hobby Shop building.

In addition to actual grants given out, there is also marketing being offered, as well as membership to the chamber for the project chosen for the space.

We encourage all who may have an idea to offer to consider getting involved. It will be worth it.