Big plans, bigger wants for major Rochester parks

ROCHESTER — A $10 million aquatics growth doubling the dimensions of the pool at Troopers Memorial Area. A venture so as to add 2 acres to Silver Lake. Extra picnic areas, pickleball courts, path connections and even house for Indigenous ceremonies.

That is solely a part of Rochester’s plans to enhance two of the town’s premier parks.

Metropolis officers are getting ready suggestions for Rochester’s Parks and Recreation Board, in addition to the Rochester Metropolis Council, to undertake over the subsequent two months that would dramatically rework recreation house at Troopers Memorial Area Park and Silver Lake Park.

On the identical time, residents are pushing the town to undertake facilities that may’t all slot in every park. Pickleball gamers, golfers, swim followers and individuals who simply need to benefit from the outside are all lobbying for pet initiatives as Rochester tries to pin down future park plans.

“One of the biggest challenges in government is reconciling the vocal minority with the will of the majority,” Deputy Metropolis Administrator Aaron Parrish stated. “It’s really that passion that drives some of the engagement.”

The ten-year plans for Troopers Area and Silver Lake come as metropolis and Vacation spot Medical Heart (DMC) officers work to rework Rochester’s downtown district into a world well being hub through the subsequent twenty years.

Plans are underway for Discovery Stroll — a four-block stroll and bike path to Troopers Area on the southwest aspect of downtown. And native officers see potential to attach Troopers Area to Silver Lake northeast of downtown.

The parks will every add new options within the meantime. Metropolis employees might spend $18.5 million at Troopers Area through the subsequent three years, together with $10 million in DMC funding.

That Money would double the pool and aquatics space at Troopers Area to about 70,000 to 80,000 sq. toes, respectively, partially to handle ongoing complaints a couple of lack of locations to swim within the space. Additionally deliberate are two new basketball courts, a brand new health circuit, new and renovated shelters, playgrounds and parking.

Rochester might additionally spend about $17.5 million on Silver Lake enhancements, which would come with renovating a skate park space and including path connections, bushes, artwork installations, and extra options relying on whether or not the town chooses to switch the pool at Silver Lake or take away the close by dam. It might additionally embrace dedicating a southern portion of the park to the Dakota group for gatherings and ceremonies.

Additional out, metropolis employees advocate including six pickleball courts at Troopers Area, which pickleball gamers say is not sufficient to serve burgeoning curiosity within the sport. They wished 10 to 12 courts constructed so as to add to the devoted courts at Prepare dinner Park, although metropolis officers say courts are deliberate for a number of parks sooner or later.

Whereas increasing the aquatics space at Troopers Area would require making adjustments to some of the park’s 18-hole golf course, a long-term plan contains slicing the course right down to 9 holes, spurring concern among the many metropolis’s golfers.

The course cuts would release land for an arboretum, extra grass house and one other shelter, amongst different issues.

Larry Mortensen, a former Parks and Recreation board president, decried the town’s response to golf and potential cuts at Troopers Area throughout a presentation he made to that board on Tuesday.

“The golf community deserves better support than what we have so far received,” he stated.

A number of council members and Mayor Kim Norton assist preserving the Troopers Area Golf Course at 18 holes. Throughout a gathering on Monday, council members cited the course’s historical past and its draw for residents and vacationers.

But Council Member Molly Dennis identified park fanatics she talks to aren’t essentially drawn to golf after they come to Troopers Area.

“They come to the parks for places of belonging,” she stated. “They come for events and connection, so I think we need to make sure we keep green space available.”

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