History of the Rochester Board of Parks and Recreation
The City of Rochester Board of Parks and Recreation was established on January 23, 1968. The Board immediately began to gather information on Rochester's recreation opportunities and to meld them into an integrated system which would satisfy the diverse needs and preferences of the community. The focal point of this effort was the completion of a comprehensive park and recreation open space plan. In 1975, this goal was achieved through the assistance of the Indiana State Planning Services Agency and James H. Neidigh & Associates, planning consultants. Funding for the project came in part from a comprehensive planning grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The 1975 plan consisted of a five year plan as well as projections into the early 1980's.
In 1987, the Board decided that the time had come to update the plan in order to more firmly establish accepted goals for further park development and renewal. In response to a solicitation campaign by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University, Bloomington, the City of Rochester submitted a proposal requesting the aid of a Lilly Fellow in updating the City's Parks and Open Space Plan. The Lilly Community Fellowship Project Selection Committee met on September 28, 1987 and approved the project The goal of the project was to determine and provide for the recreation needs and preferences of the Rochester community. The updated plan was developed to follow the structure of the 1975 plan for continuity and ease of use by those familiar with the original plan.
In order to continue striving to meet the recreational needs of the community, the Park Board, with the assistance of Sitescapes, Inc., park and recreation consultant, started the update of the five year master plan in 1993. This plan, built upon the previous plan. focused on several key needs. The first need was an update to the mission statement and goals of the Rochester Parks and Recreation Dept, trends and needs had changed since the first open space plan was developed in 1975. It was important to re-establish the Board's goals to be more consistent with today's needs with an anticipation of the future.
The present Rochester Parks and Recreation Department was reestablished 1988, under I.C. 36-104,when an ordinance was passed by the Rochester Common Council. Four members of the Parks and Recreation Board are subject to appointment by the Mayor. The appointments are four year terms and in staggered succession so two terms will not expire in the same year. There shall be no more than two of one political party serving under appointment.
The Rochester Parks and Recreation Board is part of the overall organization of the City of Rochester. The Park Board, along with the other Boards of the City, report directly to the Common Council.