BREAKING NEWS 1st case of Omicron variant detected in Minnesota Full Story

Runners speak out against changes to Rochester community track

Community at odds over the future of the Soldier's Field track. People are making their voices heard the best way they know how, by running.

Posted: May 23, 2019 8:58 PM
Updated: May 24, 2019 7:52 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - There's no argument the community track at Soldier's Field needs a facelift. 

But some runners in the community were stopped in their tracks when the Rochester park board voted to do that, 3-to-1, by paving it.

"It's not safe for children to run on," Gwen Jacobson, runner and member of the Rochester Track Club, said. "The citizens of Rochester really do like this running track and would like to see it stay a running track."

Jacobson also is also concerned the asphalt will change the loop from being a regulation standard track. 

She's started a petition asking the park board to reconsider its decision. The petition has over 1,170 signatures. 

She also organized a running event on Thursday to make the message heard. From sunrise to sundown, at least one person was running on Soldier's Field track to show city leaders how much they would like to keep it from being an asphalt loop. 

Rizwan Siwani is a parent and said he uses the track to stay active as a family. As a pediatrician, he explained his concerns. 

"With every foot-strike you're sending an impact all through your body," he said. "Another concern for kids is that if you fall down you're going to get a really bad road rash because, again, there is no give to that surface."

Some runners are suggesting the track be made of a special material called beam clay. It's a mixture that is often used on baseball diamonds. 

After doing its research, the city park's division still advised asphalt be the final choice. 

Mike Nigbur is the head of the city's Park and Forestry Division and said resurfacing the track is all part of Soldier's Field's Master Plan, in which the community expressed it wanted the park to be a place for exercise and for community events downtown. 

"Whether it is a festival like Rochesterfest, or something different, people want to see those activities," he said. "This met those goals to have that space changed that way."

City Council approved funding for paving the track. Nigbur said putting beam-clay in would raise the cost of the project about $50,000 and would require more maintence over time. 

Even if runners fundraised the $50,000 difference, which some have offered to do, Nigbur still said asphalt is the best material for the pace to be used for exercise and events. 

"If dollars are now equal, our choice is still asphalt. It's still a better multi-purpose event space," he said. 

As of Thursday afternoon, people against the decision had already ran about 300 miles on the community track. They plan to bring the total number of miles ran and the petition to the next park board meeting in hopes board members will reconsider the decision to pave the track. 

The next park board meeting is on Tuesday, June 4. 

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 915942

Reported Deaths: 9606
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1786832038
Ramsey739711046
Dakota67683587
Anoka64112577
Washington40545359
Stearns33631279
St. Louis29591409
Scott25994186
Wright25957217
Olmsted22339130
Sherburne19000127
Carver1670669
Clay12104105
Blue Earth1147970
Rice11451138
Crow Wing11213123
Chisago995379
Kandiyohi9815108
Otter Tail9813127
Benton9033125
Beltrami816997
Goodhue811798
Douglas7875101
Itasca772299
Mower733449
McLeod713084
Winona710258
Isanti700783
Steele685731
Morrison672879
Becker628574
Polk603187
Freeborn561246
Carlton546974
Mille Lacs532479
Lyon528461
Nobles525054
Nicollet522460
Pine515043
Cass501253
Todd492843
Brown470759
Le Sueur459734
Meeker433458
Martin386544
Wabasha375510
Waseca374333
Dodge361112
Hubbard355249
Roseau316231
Fillmore305315
Wadena302940
Redwood281445
Houston272017
Renville268451
Faribault258233
Sibley252317
Pennington252130
Kanabec250136
Cottonwood230132
Aitkin222450
Chippewa220542
Pope207410
Watonwan198020
Yellow Medicine188023
Rock177729
Koochiching176725
Swift173123
Stevens167511
Jackson161016
Clearwater158020
Marshall153522
Murray151811
Pipestone149729
Lake132924
Lac qui Parle123025
Wilkin121116
Mahnomen106014
Norman10509
Grant101510
Big Stone9485
Lincoln8805
Kittson73223
Red Lake71410
Traverse6056
Unassigned545124
Lake of the Woods5265
Cook3071

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 525758

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
Clarke163629
Montgomery163146
Keokuk152639
Palo Alto152332
Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
Greene128818
Davis126825
Lucas126127
Monona124940
Worth12309
Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
Decatur104813
Taylor100914
Fremont98913
Van Buren95922
Wayne86125
Ringgold78429
Audubon77617
Adams5869
Unassigned500
Rochester
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Mason City
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 35°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 38°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 37°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Tracking chances for rain and snow
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events