Rochester City Council looks at Soldier Field Aquatic Center plans

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(ABC 6 News) – Rochester is one step closer to bringing in a new way for people to cool off in the summer.

The Soldiers Memorial Field Park master plan was approved back in 2014.

During a Rochester City Council study session, the parks and rec department went over their master plan to create a first-class aquatic center at Soldier Field Park.

There were two designs up for discussion, both concepts include improving the Soldier Field Pool. Increasing the max capacity to 1,000 people – up from the current 900 max.

They will also bring in a lazy river, 50-meter swimming pool, and splash pad, renovate the bathhouse, and add a second build for aquatic infrastructure and more support service for pool operations.

But the “Preferred Plan” differs due to some alterations that would push back the nearby trail south into the Soldier Field golf course. It also calls for tee three on the course to be relocated to make room for a nature-play area and shelter.

This surprised city councilman Shaun Palmer, who stated that there was already a previous vote to build the play area and shelter next to Gibbs Dr. SW

“If you put the shelter by the pool, it makes really no sense, because we want people who drop kids off to the pool to be in there with kids,” Palmer said. “We don’t even want Wi-Fi, because we want them watching their kids.”

Palmer was also surprised to see two basketball courts in the “Preferred Plan” instead of pickleball courts.

In the “Alternative Concept plan” the natural-play area and shelter would be next to Gibbs Dr. SW; eliminating the need to reroute the trail and relocate the tee three zone.

But both concepts did gather some concerns from council members. Including making sure the pool is deep enough for diving and other deep water activities and making sure there is enough seating and parking.

“If we don’t build it right the first time or make it capable for diving, then there’s no opportunity for diving to ever be at this pool,” Council women Molly Denis said. “Having a deeper water, we have a scuba dive club that could use that and there’s a lot of other options for training lifeguards if you a deeper pool.”

Rochester Parks & Rec Director Paul Widman said they will be moving forward with the Alternative Concept plan.