Created: 07/09/2014 10:43 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 News) -- Many golfers on the south end of Rochester are relieved now that the Park and Rec Board has decided to keep Soldiers Field Golf Course in tact as part of their master plan.
"I’m here 2 or 3 times a week, every week,” said golfer, Rodney Dretsch. He’s has been playing golf at Soldiers Field for 30 years. "It's a nice quiet, serene area in the middle of the city,” he said.
Rodney says an 18-hole golf course is the best use of this particular area in the park. So, when the idea of downgrading the park to just 9 holes came up as part of a future master plan for the area, golfers weren't too happy.
"I can understand the concept, but it wasn't a good concept,” said Dretsch.
With golf being a somewhat expensive recreational activity, some felt other park amenities like a sledding hill and more trails could be more universal. But with overwhelming support to keep the 18-hole course, the parks and recreation board recently decided to keep it as is.
"It was never about a win lose situation, we wanted to get public input, find out how the residence of Rochester see that park 20 to 30 years from now,” said Paul Widman, Director of Park and Recreation in Rochester. He says the overall participation at Soldiers Field Golf Course is trending down slightly. "On the other hand, it's the only thing we do that produces revenue,” said Widman.
"We are asked to break even and we do and Soldiers Field makes a little bit more than that so we certainly are financially sound,” said David Richardson, Golf Professional.
The focus now is phase one of the master plan, which looks at everything north of the course. They have to decide to revive what's there, like the pool, trails and track, or start from scratch.
But for now, regular golfers are relieved to keep a full course in the downtown area. "We need the green space,” said Dretsch.
The Parks and Rec Department says there's no rush to get this master plan ironed out. There has been a subcommittee created to focus on the these efforts. Eventually they'll take a plan to the City Council for funding approval.