Soldiers Field should keep its focus on amateur athletics
According to a recent Post-Bulletin article, the city of Rochester purchased the land for Soldiers Field with a "stipulation of developing the property as a park with recreational facilities that would encourage amateur athletics." And that's the way it's always been.
So why would we even consider removing the ball fields, the swimming pool or the golf course and replacing them with picnic grounds, miniature golf, an arboretum or public gardens?
These are actual ideas presented to us by our Park and Recreation Department at the Soldiers Field Master Plan Open House. To be fair, the department is asking for public input. To be wary, we have already paid consultants to place these concepts for the "Future Soldiers Field" on easels, and decisions may be coming as early as May or June.
We would all acknowledge the value of a good picnic or a leisurely stroll through an arboretum. But, are these really valid options for "recreational facilities that would encourage amateur athletics"?
Maybe we could improve on what we already have. Maybe we could add some new ideas like a speed-skating track or cross country ski trails.
Whatever we do with our park, we need to remember that it is there to encourage active participation in sports. This is our Destination Physical Center, and we should be in control of the plan.