Soldiers Field top choice for Veterans Museum - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Soldiers Field top choice for Veterans Museum

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The committee planning the future Minnesota Veterans and Emergency Services Museum has a clear picture of their next step in the process.

"We want to do everything we can to have the site be at Soliders Field Park," said Tom Hosier, of the Minnesota Veterans & Emergency Services Museum Committee

It's at the top of a list presented to the City Council Monday of possible locations for the museum which also includes the Olmsted County Fairgrounds and the current Rochester Senior Center.

Committee members say Soldiers Field is the clear frontrunner.

"It should be within walking distance of the memorial," Hosier said. "The memorial is a wonderful place of destination but it doesn't work so well in Minnesota when the weather's not so nice."

But when selecting the top choice location, officials say they didn't take into consideration the likelihood of actually getting the site.

Though this presentation was to the Rochester City Council, they actually aren't the ones who would be making that decision.

"The park board really, that's their domain, their jurisdiction in terms of deciding the location," said City Council President Randy Staver.

Rochester Parks and Recreation is putting together a master plan for the future of Soldiers Field. It is looking at what will happen to things like the golf course, the pool, the ball fields and any other future features.

"Our Soldiers field Master Plan is going on and that will determine 'Will a museum be in that park or not?'" said Mike Nigbur of Rochester Parks and Recreation.

Right now, the museum isn't on any of the concepts for the future of Soldiers Field Park, but Parks officials say they are taking comments about whether it should be added.

If the answer is "yes," that's only the first step.

"First order of action would be that the Park Board would need to approve that in concept in the master plan," said Nigbur. "The second phase would be seeing their feasibility report, making sure that it's a viable option really. After that it's matter of timing of when it actually goes forward. Will they have funding in the next 5 years or 10 years? That's really up to them."

The other part of Monday's meeting was presenting the feasibility of the project.

Veterans Museum Committee Members say it's clearly feasible, but City Council Members say information is still coming in.

Now committee members are trying to secure $350,000 from the state for the planning process.

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