Albert Lea City Council approves food truck plaza

(ABC 6 News) – During Monday’s meeting the Albert Lea City Council approved the design and bidding for a food truck plaza, a space on East Main Street that will be designed specifically for food truck vendors to park their trucks and sell their products.

The North Broadway parking lot is where food trucks usually set up shop for big events. However, the city council says the food truck plaza on Main Street will not completely eliminate other food truck spaces like the north lot, especially for big events.

"I completely support this project. That property has been somewhat of an eyesore for many years now," Albert Lea City Councilor Jason Howland said.

The future home of the food truck plaza, 804 East Main St., has been under construction for a while.

"This is going to clean up an area in our town right now that is a high-profile area and a lot of people drive by and it sends a bad message for those people that drive by it," Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr. said.

Local food truck vendors are excited about the opportunity to have somewhere to sell their food a little bit more permanently instead of waiting for a specific event.

"Well I would be out a lot more instead of waiting for an event to pop up and I think that we would grow as not only Albert Lea and the community, we would grow as the food truck community," co-owner of La Borinqua food truck Amanda Velazquez said.

Velazquez and her husband both own the food truck and have served Puerto Rican food for almost a year now, carrying on their family’s culture.

She said people want to come to food trucks to have options, not just one type of food. That’s what this food truck plaza will offer. If you don’t want one style of food, you can walk over to the next truck and grab something else.

"I think that it would just make more sense to have everything together so it’s a one-stop-shop for everyone," owner of B-Lo Zero Sno Cones & Minnie Donuts Emily Navarrete said.

Navarrete said her business started with just sno cones a couple of years ago but was so successful that it has expanded to another food truck staple: mini donuts.

"Having the food truck hub for just as an everyday kind of thing or weekend kind of thing, that’s amazing," she said.

The food truck community has grown a lot over the past few years in Albert Lea. Since 2018, the city has gone from zero licensed food trucks to almost 20.

The city council said hiring the engineer for the project will cost about $14,100 and the cost of developing the plaza is estimated at $137,600.

The plaza is expected to hold three food trucks at a time and provide them with electricity. Picnic tables and shaded areas are planned for food truck-goers.