Rochester taps team to help create riverfront vision

Massachusetts consultant hired to lead process for creating plan for 2.5 acres of downown city-owned land west of the Zumbro River.

City-owned land on the west side of Zumbro River, between southeast Second and Fourth streets, is the subject of a small-area planning process.. (Andrew Link /
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A $195,000 contract for initial planning of the development of 2.5 acres of city-owned land west of the Zumbro River, between Second and Fourth streets southeast, was approved Monday.

“This is an exciting process and project,” said Rochester City Council member Mark Bransford.

RELATED: Zumbro River embraced as next target for DMC

The agreement with Cambridge, Mass.-based Gamble Associates calls for active community engagement in the planning effort, which will include identifying priorities for the site that currently houses a city parking ramp, a parking lot and the former Legends site.

“The community needs a seat at the table, and we need to make sure that when something important as the riverfront in Rochester is being looked at, that we have active community engagement,” said council member Molly Dennis said.


The plan calls for work to start in October; community engagement will include a co-design panel, public meetings with stakeholders, online engagement and in-person community events.

What happened: The Rochester City Council approved a contract to create a small-area plan for 2.5 acres of city-owned land west of the Zumbro River.

Why does this matter: The site includes the former Legends bar site, a parking lot and a parking ramp.

What's next: Cambridge, Mass.-based Gamble Associates will assess the site and start to develop a plan for it.

Jaymi Wilson, the city’s project manager for the project, said Gamble has significant experience with plans for waterfront properties, which put it ahead of others.

Gamble’s work will include three subcontractors: Laguna Beach, Calif.-bases SWA Group, St. Paul-based NEOO Partners and Framingham, Mass.-based Omloop.


SWA Group will provide landscape architecture and planning services.

NEOO Partners will provide economic development and community engagement services. The company recently worked with Kimley-Horn to provide transit planning and community engagement services for Rochester’s Transit Development Plan.

Omloop Design will provide signs and "wayfinding" services for the project.

The council approved the agreement with a 5-2 vote, with Dennis and Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick opposed.

A final vision for the 2.5-acre site, which will be submitted to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the Rochester City Council for approval, is expected by the end of June.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or
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