Cascade Lake Park set to hold Canfield honor

August 9, 2018

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said his predecessor had a fondness for Cascade Lake, going as far to eventually moving to a house with a view of the water.

“When we were campaigning together, he talked about what Cascade could become,” he said of former Mayor Chuck Canfield.

That was the reasoning behind Brede’s request Tuesday to name a feature in Cascade Lake Park for the former mayor, who died in early 2017.

Canfield was elected to the Rochester City Council in 1986, serving in Ward 2 before being elected as mayor in 1996. He served two terms.

While Brede had worked for Canfield’s campaign at one point, he later unseated Canfield following a five-way primary election that ended with the two men on the general election ballot.

Brede, who’s now in his last year of office, said he’d been pondering what’s been named for past mayors and realized nothing in Rochester bears Canfield’s name. He said he wants to correct that before he leaves office.

Tuesday, the Rochester Park Board agreed to name either the planned pavillion or amphitheater after Canfield, with details to be ironed out as park construction continues.

Work started this summer on developing approximately 8 acres of the planned 26-acre park, but the features that could carry Canfield’s name will likely require future funding and could be years away.

While the board was unanimous in granting Brede’s request, members also raised some concern.

“I’m always leery when we have another park named after a white man,” board member Linnea Archer said, noting the things in the city named for women or non-white men don’t represent the diversity of the city.

However, board members noted Canfield embraced the city’s diversity when he started a “Not In Our Town’’ campaign in 1997 in answer to a series of clashes between whites and blacks. The effort to stand against racial violence in Rochester garnered more than 30,000 pledges and carried a message Canfield repeated throughout his time as mayor.

While the approved the honor for Canfield, Park Board members said they believe Tuesday’s request demonstrates a need to find ways to represent the city’s diversity.

“I think that it is important that we look for additional opportunities to name and honor the more diverse voices in Rochester,” board member Cydni Smith said.

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