Rochester City Council discusses future of park master plans

The Rochester City Council has been hearing from consultants and having discussions Monday afternoon about the highly-anticipated future of Soldiers Field and Silver Lake parks.

This is the first update to Soldiers Field Master Plan since 2014 and the first master plan created for Silver Lake Park.

Lots of members of the public came to the council’s study session Monday afternoon to hear the updates on the master plans with the majority of the public waiting to hear what the council discussed about the future of the golf course at Soldiers Field.

“My wife and I are both golfers. So far this year I have 102 rounds in. About 70 percent of my rounds are down there,” one Rochester resident said to the council.

The majority of the city council wants to keep the 18-hole golf course because of what it offers to the Rochester community, especially for those who are older or have mobility issues.

“In the 2014 golf (plan) it said we would re-look at this in ten years which would make it 2024. Here we are in 2022 we’re looking at it again,” council member Shaun Palmer said. “So, I’m disappointed in the fact that the golf plan is not completed. We have a lot of people who were worried about golf, just kicking it down the can for three more years just isn’t satisfactory for me.”

As far as funding for Soldiers Field, $10 million would come from Destination Medical Center (DMC), $5 million from federal grants, and the rest would be covered by state money and the park referendum.

The master plan for Silver Lake Park comes with an estimated cost of $14 million to $17 million and includes four phases with improvements to the dam to give people more water access and the removal of the pool with an added splash pad.

Both Mayor Kim Norton and council member Mark Branksford are against getting rid of the pool.

The final proposed master plan documents will be considered by the park board for approval during its meeting on Oct. 4.

There is also a public hearing regarding the Soldiers Field golf course at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Mayo Civic Center in room 101.