ALBERT LEA, Minn. (FOX 47) - The Main Street Minnesota program is part of a nationwide movement to revitalize downtowns and commercial districts through economic development and historical preservation. Albert Lea became part of the program last year.
"Downtowns are usually the heart of our community. You can tell the health of a community by how the downtown looks," said Megan Tsui, executive director of Red Wing Downtown Main Street.
The town known as the "Land Between the Lakes" is no exception. Albert Lea's downtown already holds popular events such as Eddie Cochran Days, Wander the Water half marathon and Thursdays on Fountain.
"But this encompasses the whole community and bringing more people to Albert Lea as a destination," said Albert Lea Main Street and Visitor's Bureau director.
Megan Tsui has overseen a revitalization of downtown Red Wing and believes Albert Lea has just as much potential.
"It has so many assets such as the lake and recreation. It has people who care. That's mostly what you have," Tsui said. "People who really care about the town and want to preserve the historic nature of the town."
The revitalization of Albert Lea's Main Street hopes to bring not just events downtown, but also residents. Many of the historic buildings on Broadway have had their upper levels repurposed into apartments.
"We want to draw more to our community and have a more regional impact," Petersen said. "It's a great place to live and raise a family."
"It isn't necessarily things that come to town but it's things that out of the town and the community," said Tsui. "One of the things we're hearing here today is that Albert Lea wants to have a family friendly downtown. They want to have activities, stores and events that are family friendly."
But it won't happen without a little help.
"It's everyone's job to help your downtown," Tsui said. "That means volunteering, contributing and shopping local."
And all opinions are welcome.
"We want to listen," said Petersen. "We want to see what you want because this is what it's about."
That's not all the change coming to downtown Albert Lea. Separate from the Main Street Program is the replacement of the downtown water tower, which is due to take place this year.