What is the plan for the field formerly known as Seneca Foods, where all that remains is the beloved corn cob water tower? -- Stone Cold Steve
Indeed I am a man of answers, but that doesn’t mean I have a crystal ball.
If I did, I assume it would be filled with fog since there’s been little consensus among Olmsted County commissioners when it comes to the 11-acre site that once housed a canning facility at the intersection of Third Avenue Southeast and 12th Street.
The county spent $5.6 million on the site with the intention of providing space for a previously planned mixed-use transit hub as part of a larger rapid-transit project. However, Rochester City Council members and commissioners failed to reach full agreement on plans, and the city decided to start with a Second Street system connecting a west mixed-use transit hub on Second Street Southwest to Mayo Civic Center.
Since then, the county has earmarked another $2.2 million to prepare the site for future development, which includes restoring the ear-of-corn water tower, which is expected to start this month.
Ideas for the site still include creating a transit hub that could include affordable housing, but they also include selling or leasing the site for private development and keeping it for the potential to expand entertainment opportunities near Graham Park.
To help determine what options exist, the county plans to prepare a formal request for ideas while gauging interest from developers and other potential partners later this year.
Mat Miller, the county’s director of facilities and building operations, told one of my minions that the request, known as a statement of interest, is likely to be made official this summer or fall, but no specific time frame exists.
Until then, the county’s contractor is expected to finish removing the foundation and restoring the site, so a potential vision for the space won’t be blocked by dirt and debris.
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