Some haven't heard about DMC, or don't care

As Destination Medical Center begins taking form, reactions to it also are taking shape. Interviews with people in Rochester and area cities last month found some love it, some fear that Mayo is taking over the city and a few have never heard of it or think it will have little impact on their lives. Here's what they told us.

Dennis Moenwas relaxing on a bench in the Peace Plaza about a block from the Mayo building. He lives in Byron and is a custodian at Mayo. He thinks DMC will help Mayo and his town, but he also knows Rochester won't be the same.

"There are going to be a lot of changes," he said. "Hopefully, they are for the better."

He believes it will help Byron, which is about 10 miles to the west and a lot of other small towns around Rochester. He's not sure DMC will help him because he might retire before there are any big changes.

Dr. Ravinder Jeet Kaur,a research trainee in the gastrointestinal field at Mayo, was interviewed in the Peace Plaza as well. She believes DMC is a good move because it will make it easier and faster to do research and get that research out to other medical professionals worldwide.


With it, "there are more options for the research in that field," she said. And there will be better and more research in the future thanks to DMC, she said. That research will be spread out to help actual cases faster, she said.

Edward Milner,of Rochester, was sitting in the plaza in front of the Chateau Theatre and he had a strong opinion about DMC: "I think it's bad." He read how Mayo is being accused of favoring patients who have private insurance and disagrees with that. He fears that will continue and as Mayo gets bigger, things will get worse. "I think they're getting too big for their britches," he said.

"There are enough Mayo buildings around here" and across Minnesota, he said. He thinks Mayo controls too many businesses. "Everything is all centered around Mayo and everyone else is getting overlooked," he said.

Charlie Applequistwas driving his wheelchair across Center Street near where the new Hilton hotel is under construction. He fears such development could hurt him because as the clinic and private developments expand, it will be harder for him to get around and find places to live.

DMC planners have proposed a type of light rail or people-mover connection between downtown and Saint Marys, and he thinks that will make it harder for buses to get around. "We're not that big a town," he said.

Also, as Mayo expands, more and more apartments are being built around it "and rent is getting higher because of the Mayo stuff," he said. It also can make it harder for small businesses, or those with disabilities, not connected to Mayo to survive or get jobs, he said.

"I think it's going to get too fancy," he said. "Mayo has gotten too big for its britches." He thinks doctors are making him feel like a number.

Heather Plasswas walking down Lewiston's main street, her hood pulled up against the cold, when we stopped her to ask about DMC. She's a transcriptionist for Mayo, working from her home. She thinks DMC surely will help Rochester and is hoping that can be said for Lewiston.


"They are making the town of Rochester bigger and better and more approachable for activities," she said. "There will be more stuff for us to do in the Rochester area or within 40 minutes."

As for Lewiston, "We could maybe see growth in Lewiston, more business coming in, more houses and more development," she said. "That would be good for us at Lewiston, all the extra growth we could get would be awesome."

• In Pete's Meats near where Plass was walking, co-owner Judy Lewiswas filling display cases with hot dogs. She's ambivalent on DMC. "Really doesn't have an effect on us," she said. "What Rochester does doesn't affect us."

Some other towns such as Lanesboro will see a benefit, but "we're not a touristy location," she said. "I think we are just far away enough that it's just not going to do much here." St. Charles, on the other hand, could benefit.

• As she was talking, Tony Langwalked in and began putting baked goods in a display case. He works for the St. Charles Bakery and plans to take it over someday from his dad, Elroy Lang. Tony, 25, hadn't heard about DMC but, when told a bit about it, said it could help him. If more people come, "they would be going to more restaurants, and we would have to make more buns for the restaurants, so that would be good," he said. Or they might come into his main street bakery and buy doughnuts, cakes, cupcakes and Danish. "We make a lot of different things from scratch," he said. But as far as he knows, no one talks much about DMC in St. Charles.

• Inside the Town & Country Store in Rushford, Paul Bartshwas selling feed for local farmers. He knows little about DMC: "I have no idea, I don't pay attention to it," he said. And he isn't sure what farmers think. "When I go on a farm, I talk about selling feed," he said.

He's not that interested in it. "I just don't think it will affect my life that much," he said.

Amber Specewas coming out of the Rushford Post Office when we talked with her. She hadn't heard of DMC, either. She works in a local nursing home and thought someone would have said something. "I'm honestly surprised I have never heard about it," she said.


But when told a bit about it, she said "This is a small town -- it would be nice if we could see new faces."

Sue and Gary Hoff,of Rushford, were walking a park along Rush Creek.

"I really don't know much about it," she said.

"To be honest, there is going to be great growth in the Mayo Clinic," her husband said.

When Sue heard more about it, she looked to the northeast where a crane was working on the new Rushford school. "We have a beautiful school here," she said referring to the new school. "More people should move here, move to Rushford," she said.

Actually, it's not that long of a commute to Rochester, about 40 minutes, Gary said. "I keep hearing it will probably spread out this far," he said. "I think the wave might take a while," he said. "It's not going to happen right away."

"Maybe sooner," Sue said.


Tony Lang

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