One of the biggest gripes Rochester residents have is the fact that a city of this size doesn’t have a good aquatic center. A lot of people, including my family, pack up to go swimming in neighboring towns like Kasson, Stewartville, and St. Charles because their facilities are much better than what we have here in the Med-City.

I’m guessing even more people will start venturing out to the surrounding communities this summer. According to KIMT, the Rochester Parks and Recreation Department announced it was closing Silver Lake Pool for good last fall. That means Rochester will only have one outdoor public pool – the Soldier’s Field pool.

The Department said the decision was based on several factors including flat attendance, excessive maintenance, and concerns that “major breakdowns are imminent.”

An online petition aimed at saving the Silver Lake Pool has been circulating on social media. The “Let them Swim/ Keep the Silver Lake Pool Open” page says, “We feel splash pads only will service a small portion of our ever-growing diverse population and does not give the opportunity to learn how to swim. We would like to get the pool open this year and have it replaced in the future with an Aquatic facility with many more amenities to better serve the needs of our community.”

The Parks and Rec Department suggested the Silver Lake pool could be turned in a splash pad.

To my knowledge, there haven’t been any talks about adding a new aquatic center in Rochester. Instead, the City is focusing on adding splash pads around town. The first splash pad is being built at Lincolnshire Park and will be roughly 2,500 sq. ft. A City press release explains, "It will have 10 play activities of both flush and above ground elements highlighted by a “Tippy Wedge” with signage for photo opportunities." Click here, to read more about that splash pad and where the next one could be built in Rochester.

The 100 Best Places to Live in the Midwest