ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Some Rochester residents consider the public running track at Soldiers Field the crown jewel of the city. It’s been used for decades by the running community and is home to Rochesterfest every year.
The Rochester Parks and Rec board decided the fate of the track Tuesday following months of debate on whether to pave it with asphalt or consider a softer running surface. Paving the track would make it easier to host large events like Rochesterfest because heavy rain floods the area and makes it nearly impossible to run or host any kind of event on it.
An organization made up of mostly runners known as “Save The Track” staged a number of protests against the proposal to pave it with asphalt and pushed for a track with a softer running surface. The groups argued paving it would not only ruin the facility but also make it easier for runners to get injured.
The board sided with Save The Track voting 6-0 to reject a bid to pave it.
“This has really been a dedicated effort by a lot of people, but personally to me, it’s very very important for the children of Rochester, and I am so excited that we are going to have a soft surface for them,” said Gwen Jacobson, a founder of Save The Track.
The budget for this project is set at 295 thousand dollars.
Save The Track has launched a GoFundMe campaign, raising almost $8,000 with a goal of $50,000 to help fund costs that may exceed that budget and ongoing maintenance.