ROCHESTER, Minn. – Neighbors who live around Silver Lake Park in Rochester think it needs some improvements. A volunteer group called Silver Lake Friends has been advocating for the park and is asking The City to take action Monday.
The park is also used by thousands of medical patients and other visitors to the city every year and it has special meaning for area residents like Greg Munson who grew up there.
“I call it a very good park but it does need some help,” Munson says.
This summer, he and other neighbors including Shaun Palmer formed Silver Lake Friends.
“We were talking and it kind of became obvious to us that we’re really trying to help an old friend,” explains Palmer. “We’ve all spent time as a kid here and enjoyed this park.”
The group of volunteers have met several times to identify some problem areas within the park. They created a priority list of three things they feel need immediate attention. One being the east pavilion, which is nearly 100 years old.
“You can see some peeling on the roof of the building that needs some work. There’s some other things we’d like to replace the drinking fountain, we’d like to make better fixtures in the restrooms and put some better lighting in, ventilation and so on,” Munson adds.
Another area that needs attention is the train connecting the park’s three iconic stone arch bridges. Right now, it’s not accessible to everyone.
“Well there’s a big lip here, it gets muddy, we just walked through some muddy soft areas. You know people come from respite, they come with a wheelchair and they can’t make that and we really do want to make it accessible and this is nothing more than a trip hazard; it’s worn away and not going to be good for the structure,” says Palmer.
Silver Lake Friends is asking the city to authorize paving of the quarter mile pedestrian trail. The third item they’ll be talking to the council about Monday is the city snow dump. Removing the snow dumping area along the east shore of Silver Lake is a primary goal for the group. Not only are there environmental concerns about the dumping of snow containing sand, salt and other debris, Silver Lake Friends feel the five-acre piece of land could be put to better use.
Over the winter, the group will work with the Parks and Recreation Department to develop a master plan for Silver Lake Park to take care of some other improvements and changes that aren’t as pressing. For more detail on what will be presented to the city council Monday, you can view the Silver Lake Friends item in the meeting agenda.