Oxbow Nature Center Improvements
Draft rendering of the improvements proposed for the Oxbow Nature Center
The County Board gave approval to continue planning for an improvement of the Oxbow Nature Center and Zoo. Virtually nothing has been done (except to the parking lot) to the buildings and landscaping since the nature center opened; however, it remains the most visited attraction in Olmsted County. Over 300,000 visitors a year enjoy the Nature Center. Recently, an additional Naturalist has been added which allowed the nature center to increase of the number of educational experiences for young people. Even with this addition, the Nature Center has had to turn away many requests for elementary school visits because the space available will not accommodate more classes. The Center is unique in southeast Minnesota, as a result, it attracts students an visitors from all the counties surrounding Olmsted.
I am on the Olmsted County Park Board and have supported the County Park Board in its efforts to push for a facility that will serve more people in the future. I support the expansion and remodeling of the Nature Center for several reasons including that people of all ages visit the Nature Center, it is the most visited attraction in Olmsted County, children benefit from learning about nature, and parks have health benefits. In addition, the proposed building will be more visually attractive and lend itself to accommodate the projected increase in visitors.
The upgrade cost projection is from $6 -10 million and will serve the county will for the next 50 years.
ROCOG (Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments)
ROCOG is a planning committee made up of representatives from Olmsted County, Townships, Small Cities, and the City of Rochester. It is a committee that plans 20 to 40 years ahead for the flow of traffic and commerce. The planning assures for Federal funding for roadway projects. Plan maps are made so that people and business will know where roadways will be and can plan accordingly. The purpose of ROCOG is to plan for traffic outside of Rochester and insure that county and regional traffic needs are met.
Please know that agendas for ROCOG and the minutes of the meetings are published on the Olmsted County Website. All meetings are open to the public. Additionally, information sessions are held for the public and different times and throughout the county. These meetings are also published on the County’s website.