Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The man in charge of Rochester’s award-winning parks system wants to create a comprehensive master plan to guide the Park and Recreation Department.

Director Paul Widman says the recent failed negotiations to purchase a large parcel of land from IBM has led to discussions about putting together a master plan. He says such a plan would be developed with input from the public and other local government entities and would serve as a road map for the department and the city in future discussions about property acquisitions or the use of public facilities.

Widman noted the negotiations with IBM became very public when the Park Department staff had to get the approval of the Park Board to seek authorization from the City Council to pursue the purchase because department did not have funding designated for the acquisition. It’s speculated that IBM withdrew from the negotiations because the potential deal had attracted extensive media coverage.

A master plan could also address situations like the current debate over the future use of Fire Station 2 at Silver Lake Park. It will soon be vacated when the Fire Department moves into a new facility now under construction near Century High School. Deciding on the future use of the old Fire Hall has become complicated because the land is owned and controlled by the Park Department, but the building is not.

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