This last fall Albert Lea hosted a community brainstorming session called the Idea Splash. Anyone in the community could come and help brainstorm assets around our community that make us great. Mark and I truly enjoyed meeting other business owners and community leaders.
We discussed everything from physical assets, such as our lakes, to community volunteers being an asset. I continually felt encouraged that I, as a community member, could come up with an amazing project idea, and then work with various community leaders and businesses to get my project put into place.
Everyone in our community matters! We all bring a different perspective to Albert Lea because our interests, needs, and goals are different. Different is good and important! As we begin to grow our community, it is vital and important to listen to the needs of those around us. Even if I do not personally see value in it, others do, and I want to value the other lives, goals, and interests among the community.
Some people at the Idea Splash wanted a Dog Park, while others suggested a Cell-Fi Tour, and yet another idea was a community bike rental. All excellent ideas that promote community and enhance our lives. I truly believe that anything that enhances other people’s lives in our community promotes our community. We need to create a community we enjoy living in and being a part of. Enhancing the lives of the people who live here will promote tourism.
When we are enjoying Albert Lea’s dog park, dancing at Wind Down Wednesday, learning how to set up teepees at the The Big Island Rendezvous, and using community bikes, we encourage tourism. We as a community need to be tooting our own horn. Showcasing throughout social media, the awesome projects, events, and careers throughout our town. You do not have to look far to notice the awesome strides towards progress we are making. Creating a great tourism atmosphere goes beyond our CVB, City, and Chamber promoting our town. Us, the ones who live here, need to be jumping on social media and shouting how amazingly awesome our town is and this is why you should move here.
I personally not only want to attract tourism to our small rural town, I want to encourage Big Corporations and small business entrepreneurs to fall in love with not only what Albert lea has to offer, but the people within our community. Creating dog parks, community bike rentals, the Pelican Breeze, and other great projects around town make the businesses we want to attract stand up and take a good look at us. When we enjoy our community, we create and sell a place other people want to be a part of.
Let’s create a community that values others ideas. Let’s be a community that sees the value of other interests even if it won’t benefit you. Then when it is your turn to suggest something you are passionate about and it’s your turn to bring a community project, we’ll rally around you to make your dream come true! That is the kind of community which brings tourism in droves. The towns that thrive in tourism are the towns that pull together and make projects happen.
Let’s also not assume the funding is being taken from our taxes and let’s be willing to hear what is being proposed. Let’s be a community that doesn’t say it can’t be done, let’s be a community that says let’s figure out the best possible solution for this to happen. It takes a community to care to make a community great!
To find out the details for the final round of the idea splash click here.