Rochester Development Changes Prompt Board to Revisit Parks Ordinance

January 05, 2017 07:35 PM

(ABC 6 News)--The Rochester Parks and Rec committee is looking into changing an ongoing issue. The current parkland dedication ordinance hasn't been updated since the 1980s. It was created to help gather parkland and cash to pay for neighborhood parks.  Now, it's drawing more and more concerns as DMC continues to develop.

"The premise of that was based on a 50% cost share by the development community and 50% cost share by the city itself, so the city tax payers. They help subsidize that park improvement," says Parks and Forestry Division Head, Michael Nigbur.


Demographics have changed in the city of Rochester-there are more developments happening that weren't expected back then.

"When we had funding back in the day, we had more money going towards parks. Our operational dollars are down as a percentage of the overall budget. Our funding is down as a matter of new improvements going out further for other parks and again just a matter of lack of funding overall help driving this need to re-look at the park dedication," says Nigbur.

Currently, parks that are eight acres per 1,000 people in size are being funded, but those larger parks are not supported by neighborhood park programs.

Robert Watson with the Gamehaven Boy Scouts of America says more funding for parks will indirectly impact other organizations-like the boy scouts who use Gamehaven Park.

"With such easy access to that park any development on that from incoming money, we're happy and we support it," says Watson.

As for the possible new program, Parks and Rec hopes to change the ordinance to cover ten acres per 1,000 people, and include all new development, not just residential.

"That would help ease, make it more equitable across the board for example, but it would also provide additional funding to support those larger parks," says Nigbur.

Later this month the park board plans on discussing the changes and updates on the parkland dedication ordinance with the mayor and city officials. There will be many more steps after that to move this project forward. 


Marissa Collins

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