2023 Graham Park Master Plan
On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners approved the 2023 Graham Park Master Plan. Please visit the Graham Park website and click on The Future! for a downloadable version of the plan.
For more than a century, Graham Park has been a cornerstone of the Olmsted County community, serving as a premier location for residents and visitors to gather, celebrate, and learn. Located at 1407 3rd Avenue SE in Rochester, Minnesota, Graham Park hosts a variety of events year-round. From weddings and graduations to trade shows and hockey games, Graham Park caters to diverse needs and interests while fostering a sense of unity and togetherness among Olmsted County residents.
It is with those needs and interest in mind that Olmsted County is requesting a $12,451,000 state capital investment to further develop the commons areas at Graham Park, which is a 60-acre parcel of public land. Olmsted County would provide an additional $12,451,000 to fully support the project.
The ongoing development of commons areas at Graham Park is a vital initiative that serves the Olmsted County community and visitors in several ways:
- Preservation of urban open space: In an urban environment, maintaining open space is crucial for residents’ well-being. Graham Park’s commitment to expanding commons areas contributes to the community’s access to green spaces, promoting health, recreation, and environmental balance.
- Historic structure revitalization: Repurposing historic structures within Graham Park is an excellent way to pay homage to the area’s heritage while also addressing modern needs. This not only preserves the cultural and historical significance of Graham Park but also provides functional spaces for contemporary use.
- Affordable amenities: By offering affordable amenities, Graham Park ensures all residents have access to its facilities and events.
- Cultural and ethnic inclusivity: Graham Park’s commitment to hosting events that celebrate cultural traditions and heritage helps foster unity and preserves the county’s rich cultures.
- Community unity: By being a place residents can gather, celebrate, and learn, Graham Park provides unique opportunities and space for all within the county.
Former Highway Department building renovation
In 1938, the Highway Department building, located adjacent to the 1421 building on 3rd Ave. SE, was constructed as a Works Projects Administration (WPA) project. Revitalization of this historic structure includes renovating the space into a rental facility that would include a commercial kitchen and restrooms to accommodate guests.
Concept images of renovated Highway Department building at Graham Park.
(Entry looking northeast)
(Preferred site plan)
Upon approval of state bonding support, design could commence in 2024, with construction following in 2025 and/or 2026.
Graham Park Exhibition Center
In May 2023, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $8 million for construction of an exhibition center at Graham Park. A new exhibition center is intended to replace some of the animal agriculture buildings and become the primary flat floor event venue at Graham Park. The number of events of all kinds at Graham Park has been steadily increasing over the past few years. The exhibition center will accommodate a wide variety of community events, ethnic, cultural celebrations and festivals, and entertainment and leisure activities to further support the increased demand.
Grandstand market study
A market study will be conducted in 2024 to explore the future of the space where the current grandstands sit at Graham Park. Constructed in 1938, the grandstands failed a 2023 structural inspection by the Institute for Environmental Assessment & LS Engineers Inc. Olmsted County has invested money to repair and maintain the grandstands, however, age, exposure to weather, and the natural wear on materials have contributed to the deterioration of the structure. $100,000 in contingency funding is slated to be used for the demolition of the current grandstands.
Graham Park information
If you would like more information on Graham Park, including facility rentals, upcoming events, and advertising opportunities, please visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.