Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  The Olmsted County Board has approved a new master plan for Graham Park, the official name for the county fairgrounds in southeast Rochester.

The four-phase plan includes some major changes over the next 20 years.

The first phase deals with upgrading the Graham Arenas. Phase two calls for the construction of an arena/expo building that would cater to “livestock, horse, and other animal shows.” A restaurant would also be part of the new complex. The county expects to submit a proposal to the 2019 legislature that would include $10-million in state funds for the project.

The third phase calls for the establishment of a permanent farmers’ market that would include an open-air covered pavilion and space for 100 vendors. Phase four deals with the current site of the grandstand. It would be converted into a “seating knoll” and when combined with another new feature known as the “Great Lawn” it could accommodate large crowds for outdoor concerts and festivals.  

Also included in the plan is the possible development of a transit hub that would include a parking ramp and a possible rail connection to the downtown. One other item in the long-range plan is the continued use of the park for the annual Olmsted County Fair.

The estimated cost of the overall plan is $56-million to $62-million. It’s also expected the new park could eventually be self-sustainable.

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