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Plans afoot for McQuillan expansion

By Matt Russell

mrussell@postbulletin.com

Construction likely won’t happen for several years, but planning is under way for an 80-acre expansion of the McQuillan Fields complex in southeastern Rochester.

The city has hired a consultant for $15,000 to develop a master plan for the McQuillan expansion. There is only about $1,000 in a construction project fund after paying for the consultant, said Dennis Stotz of the Rochester Park and Recreation Department.

The shortage of money means the expansion, which could be called McQuillan South, still is a long way from opening, likely 10 years or more unless a community group steps forward and bears much of the cost of park development, he said.

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When opened, the McQuillan expansion could help bring more tournaments to Rochester, said Ed Hruska, executive director of the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.

"It will help us with the smaller tournaments, the weekend tournaments," he said.

How much the expansion will cost is still not clear because the consultant is still completing the master plan, Stotz said. Included in the report would be cost estimates on lights and the type of turf — artificial or natural.

The expansion could hold up to six youth fields or four adult fields for sports such as soccer, football, rugby or lacrosse, said Stotz. Early plans also call for a field for baseball and softball, he said. Plans currently call for arranging the fields into areas called pods that allow field configurations to be rotated, helping to reduce wear in places such as the goal boxes for soccer and lacrosse, Stotz said. This is the first time a Rochester park has used such a field configuration, he added.

The site will also likely provide an extension of the city’s pedestrian and bicycle trail system.

Most of the expansion, around 60 of the 80 acres, is a wooded area that won’t be developed into sports fields, partly because Bear Creek runs through the site and partly because an environmental assessment for a nearby road project found the area was a nesting spot for wood turtles.

The already developed portion of McQuillan Fields is 34 acres and has baseball and softball fields, sand volleyball courts, a picnic shelter and a playground.

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