DMC kicks off first big public forum
More than 400 people showed up Tuesday night for a Destination Medical Center public forum kickoff event at Mayo Civic Center. People packed the seats in the civic center's Grand Ballroom and stood around the sides and back of the assembly to listen...
More than 400 people showed up Tuesday night for a Destination Medical Center public forum kickoff event at Mayo Civic Center.
People packed the seats in the civic center's Grand Ballroom and stood around the sides and back of the assembly to listen to the newly hired DMC consultants ask questions and share ideas about what would make Rochester a formidable competitor among medical destination cities in the country and world.
Mayo Clinic's Lisa Clarke, who is executive director of the private nonprofit DMC Economic Development Agency and secretary for the public DMC Corp. Board of Directors, led the event, along with a group of consultants hired to perform four planning functions: master planner; infrastructure planner; transportation planner and market analysis and economic-fiscal consultant.
The consultants will be working to create the overall DMC development plan, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year and adopted by the Rochester City Council in early 2015.
During the public forum, the consultants introduced themselves to the audience and talked about some of the revitalization projects they've completed for other cities, including Portland, Ore.; San Diego, Calif.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Minneapolis.
Peter Cavaluzzi, a design principal with New York-based EEK, a Perkins Eastman Co., which is serving as master planner for the DMC, said the greatest challenge his company finds when doing large projects such as the DMC is designing small.
"It's not about designing big, it's about making a place more intimate, more welcoming, more small," he told the audience.
He then led a session to seek ideas from the audience by asking questions about Rochester and how people would like to see it improve.
"What makes Rochester unique and special?" he asked.
Volunteers serving as DMC ambassadors walked around with microphones so people could respond. Some of the many answers to that question were: Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial; the bike trails; smart people and diversity; historic buildings; skyway and subway systems; warm, welcoming people; the Zumbro River through downtown; and the Downtown Farmers Market.
When asked what would make downtown Rochester a desirable place to live, Cavaluzzi received a lot of answers that had to do with healthy living and a healthy environment rather than the more grand physical attributes the consultants were seeking. He said he will need to hear more from people in future public forums about what kinds of facilities and public infrastructure Rochester citizens hope to see as part of the DMC.
DMC planners tour "Great American City"