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PUBLIC NOTICE The U.S. Department of Com

PUBLIC NOTICE The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) is considering a request for Federal assistance from City of Rochester to construct a Mayo Clinic Center/Mayo Park and Chateau Improvements in Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota for the American Rescue Plan Act Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Funding Opportunity. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, EDA is conducting an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed project. Project description: Travel and tourism are a major slice of Rochester’s economy. Every year, the community receives nearly 3 million visitors from over 120 countries around the world. Many of these travelers come to visit Mayo Clinic for medical treatment, often accompanied by family members. Health care focused conferences draw national and international guests to Rochester. The city also attracts overnight stays from Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin residents for concerts, festivals, sporting events, and other activities. As COVID-19 locked down the country in 2020, less travel to Rochester impacted every sector of its economy. The Mayo Clinic generates over 72% of all overnight visitors to Rochester. During the height of the pandemic, only emergency treatment was allowed at the hospital, significantly limiting medical tourism. According to hotel data from Smith Travel Research, the early months of the health crisis saw an 85-90% decrease in hotel occupancy and associated dollars. The economic impact of lost hotel taxes resulted in a $5,304,185 local budget hit in 2020. While medical tourists are returning, hotel revenues remain 30% down from pre-pandemic levels. Travel and tourism losses devastated dining and retail establishments. Across the city, the impact on business’ bottom lines was catastrophic last year. Approximately 10 restaurants and shops closed in the downtown alone. At the Galleria at University Square downtown mall alone, businesses reported revenue losses of 50-75% in 2020 compared to calendar year 2019. The Galleria landlord reduced or waived over $1 million in rents to help prevent businesses in the Galleria from closing. By mid-2021, 3,368 leisure and hospitality positions had been as result of the pandemic. These jobs have not returned in any meaningful way. This represents a direct economic loss of $64 million from wages alone in 2020. The Mayo Civic Center has struggled with repeated cancellations since March 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. Revenue at the Mayo Civic Center was 40% less in 2020 compared to 2019 – a $1,650,000 budget gap. As a result of convention and event cancellations, visitation numbers from out-of-state and global visitors to the region have been substantially reduced. Though events have begun to occur in 2021, Mayo Civic Center revenue will still fall 20% below 2019 levels, a $12 million travel and tourism loss. As COVID-19 recedes in America, the proposed Mayo Civic Center/Mayo Park and Chateau Theatre improvements will help Rochester’s travel and tourism industry recover. As discussed, Rochester competes with conference destinations across the world. Over the last five years, Rochester has lost 119 national and international conventions due to the lack of fundamental infrastructure at Mayo Park, on the grounds of the Mayo Civic Center, and at the Chateau. Theatre. In 2021 alone, Rochester has bid and lost on eight (8) international conferences, competing with cities such as Toronto (Canada), Athens (Greece), and Heidelberg (Germany). Experience Rochester, the region’s official destination marketing organization, estimates that with expanded capacity in Mayo Park and a unique offsite venue for group events at the Chateau Theater, the city will attract approximately eight (8) additional conferences per year. On average, each conference brings in 500 national and international attendees with approximately $335,360 in direct spending in the community (a total estimate of $2,682,880 annually). The proposed improvements will also provide Rochester with the ability to host additional concerts and festivals, accommodating approximately 5,000 attendees per show. Experience Rochester estimates that the activation of Mayo Park will enable it to promote five (5) additional concerts and four (4) more festivals per year, bringing 45,000 added guests to downtown Rochester. Being the largest city between Madison, Wisconsin, and Des Moines, Iowa, a large percentage of this attendance would travel from out of state. With grant investment, it is reasonable to project that Rochester will increase out-of-state visitation for event ticket purchases by 25%. The project will be located at 15 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55902. The purpose of the project is the proposed improvements will provide Rochester with the ability to host additional concerts and festivals, accommodating approximately 5,000 attendees per show. Experience Rochester estimates that the activation of Mayo Park will enable it to promote five (5) additional concerts and four (4) more festivals per year, bringing 45,000 added guests to downtown Rochester. Being the largest city between Madison, Wisconsin, and Des Moines, Iowa, a large percentage of this attendance would travel from out of state. With grant investment, it is reasonable to project that Rochester will increase out-of-state visitation for event ticket purchases by 25%. Project information is available for review at applicant’s office, 210 4th Street SE, Rochester, MN, 55904-3708, and 507-328-2950. If you have any information regarding potential environmental impacts associated with this proposed project, please provide it in writing to: Kyle Darton Environmental Protection Specialist U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Chicago Regional Office KDarton@eda.gov A copy of the NEPA/NHPA decisional document will be available upon request at the above EDA Regional Office. Comments received in the EDA Regional Office by 5:00 pm on Monday, June 13, 2022. (May 21 & 28; June 1, 2022) 65703