Plans for downtown Rochester riverfront on city council agenda

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) – Rochester City Council will receive a presentation Monday from a company hired to propose plans for the future of city-owned land along the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester.

Gamble Associates was selected by City Council last July to create the “Riverfront Small Area Plan” for the 2.5-acre site on the west side of the river between 2nd and 4th Streets Southeast, along with a parcel of 3 acres along the north side of 4th Street Southeast which is currently used for Government Center parking. The project was led by a steering committee made up of representatives from the City, DMC and Downtown Alliance.

City of Rochester

City of Rochester

The main focus of the presentation is the site west of the Government Center which currently contains the old Time Theatre/Red Owl/Legends Bar building and the city’s 2nd Street parking ramp. Two main options are proposed and both call for demolishing the parking ramp and making this part of the site available for commercial development.

City of Rochester

City of Rochester

The differences between the options relate to the southern two-thirds of the property and the former Legends Bar building which was spared the wrecking ball by the city council last year while the process for the small waterfront area plan was underway. . One option would preserve at least part of the structure and combine it with a “year-round sunken garden” covered public space just to the north. The rest of the site would be an outdoor green space that could be used for recreation, performances and various events.

City of Rochester

City of Rochester

The second option is to demolish the old Legend’s Bar building and create a public space with elevated walkways and ramps, and open terraced steps that can be used for seating, and green spaces for a variety of activities. The second option also incorporates a “Riverfront Deck” into the Zumbro River.

City of Rochester

City of Rochester

Plans developed for the parking lots east of the Government Center call for two mixed-use/residential towers along Southeast 4th Street with green space between the buildings and the river for public use. This could include community gardens, a flex plaza, and a kayak or canoe launch.

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