Rochester city council reviews plans for Soldiers Field improvements

Members of the city council met today to discuss plans for improvements to Soldiers Memorial Field Park including an expanded aquatics center.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:10 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Members of the city council met today to discuss plans for improvements to Soldiers Memorial Field Park including an expanded aquatics center.

City council, the design group and all of the avid park users have come to a compromise on the plans. They did this by using a codesign group that included various members from community.

“We had members from across the community come forward to design the aquatics area itself. We’ve also met with the golfers and the swim club to understand what their needs are for the facility as well I think for the most part, I think the plans represent the community overall and we’re hoping for good cooperation by everybody,” parks division head Mike Nigbur said.

The team coordinated with HKGI, a landscape and planning design firm to ensure everyone’s needs and wants were met in the plan. Nigbur said this was the biggest part of the project.

“We actually gave the council two plans, one is that there is some golf impact on hole number three predominantly and the alternate plan really minimizes the golf impact all together,” Nigbur said.

Nigbur said this process is long and there is competing needs across the entire park area, but the city is hoping to break ground on the project in the beginning of summer 20-23. The alternative plan includes the aquatic center, basketball courts, a nature play area, a new shelter and minimally effects golf green space but no longer includes pickle ball courts.

Thomas Debeoer, Rochester golf advocate says the co-design team was the best solution to making sure everyone’s needs were being met.

“The positives on this project are the steps that have been put forward by park staff and by council to find out and get all the answers and come up with some concepts that will work for everybody it’s been the best vetted process I’ve ever seen in the 50 plus years I’ve been in Rochester,” Debeoer said.

This project will also include a revamp of the southwest trail and downtown river walk. The total cost of this project is estimated at $20 million, however the city is hoping to allocate more than $22 million in funds.

“We’re excited about it. I think this is a great job for the community, I think we made some real big concessions at understand the golfing community as well as the aquatics we’re looking forward to it,” Nigbur said.