Rochester appeals team to help create riverside vision


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

The board approved the deal by a 5-2 vote, with members Molly Dennis and Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick opposed.

“The community needs a seat at the table, and we need to make sure that when something important like the riverside in Rochester is looked at, we have active community engagement,” said Dennis, calling for more details on the planned commitment to be added to the contract.

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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 which currently houses a city parking ramp, a parking lot and the old Legends site.

The plan calls for work to begin in October, with an engagement including the creation of a co-design panel, public meetings with stakeholders, online engagement and in-person community events.

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

Why is this important: The site between South East Streets of Second and Fourth includes the former Legends Site, a parking lot, and a parking ramp.

And after: Gamble Associates, based in Cambridge, Mass., Will evaluate the site and begin community engagement to develop a vision of what could be developed.

“There is an intention to have a very solid engagement process,” said Deputy City Administrator City Steinhauser. “It was one of the factors in the selection of the group that we did.”

Kirkpatrick questioned hiring an out-of-state company rather than a local consultant.

Jaymi Wilson, the city’s project manager for the project, said local proposals had been submitted, but Gamble had significant experience with waterfront property plans, which puts him ahead of the rest.

“As a group, we really felt that this was the strongest group to help us with this first part of this planning process,” she said.

Gamble’s work will include three contractors: SWA Group based in Laguna Beach, California, NEOO Partners based in St. Paul, and Omloop based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

SWA Group will provide landscape architecture and planning services. The company cites more than 60 years of experience and a commitment to integrating the principles of environmental sustainability.

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 the Rochester Transit Development Plan.

Omloop Design will provide signage and guidance services for the project. The company cites a wide range of clients and types of projects in its portfolio.

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


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