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Planning for the future of a community park

"New History worked with us to create a final product that would meet the city's needs and goals. Their technical expertise combined with their ability to work with the end result in mind provided added value on this project."

- Mike Nigbur, City of Rochester Parks & Forestry Division Head

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Rochester, MN

City of Rochester, Asakura Robinson

1930s - present

2021 - 2022

Historical research, Site History and Inventory, design guidance for historic preservation during master planning, preservation stakeholder engagement

Using history to plan for tomorrow’s park.


Silver Lake Park was developed by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s with improvements that included a manmade lake, hand-crafted stone bridges, and other infrastructure. From its original development until the present day, Silver Lake Park has evolved in response to natural forces as well as human intervention to accommodate changing uses, recreational needs, and environmental concerns, and it continues to operate as a municipal park. As the City of Rochester planned for updates to this community asset to accommodate shifting community needs and priorities, a better understanding of the park’s history was required.



Through archival research and on-site investigation, New History provided information on the history of the site to inform future planning efforts. This included a timeline and diagram of physical changes to the site, analysis of the park’s potential historical significance, and identification of potential historic features within the park landscape. Then, New History worked with the park master planning project team – Asakura Robinson, Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association, Lerch Bates, and Hunger Skateparks – to integrate the site’s history and historic features into the master planning process. New History supported the project team in preservation stakeholder engagement, provided recommendations on master plan design to meet best practices for historic preservation, and advised on future historic agency approvals potentially required to implement planned improvements. The completed master plan has positioned the park to continue to function as an important community asset for years to come.

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