Sister Marilyn Geiger was enjoying the activity on the 400 block of Second Avenue Southwest.
“When I moved back here in 2006, it was dead. There was nothing,” she said Thursday during an event highlighting the potential for Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Walk.
Standing a few steps from the new One Discovery Square building, she and Sister Barbara Goergen said they wanted to take part in Thursday’s celebration of what was happening in the city.
“This just brings more out into the community,” Goergen said of plans for the four-block stretch of Second Avenue that will connect the Mayo Clinic campus to Soldiers Field Memorial Park as part of the Destination Medical Center effort.
Rochester Kim Norton agreed the planned intersection of public and private development was something to celebrate.
“This will no longer be just a street,” she said of the planned Discovery Walk, which could see construction start in 2021. “This will be an experience that will connect you to the community, the businesses and this whole area of town in ways that we haven’t experienced before.”
Lisa Clarke, executive director of the DMC Economic Development Agency, agreed, noting Discovery Walk will emerge as a community asset when it’s eventually developed.
“It’s not just for the people in these buildings,” she said during the One Discovery Square grand opening announcements. “It’s for the community.”
University of Minnesota Rochester Chancellor Lori Carrell said the mingling of communities will also happen inside the new building, where university classrooms will be down the hall from workspaces for Mayo Clinic and several other medical-related companies.
“Our students will bring raw energy to the space,” she said.
With the surrounding focus on medical-related economic development, several community members took the opportunity Thursday to engage others in discussion of Rochester’s goal to be known as America’s City for Health.
Al Lun said focusing on Discovery Walk provides a way to determine what community members feel is important in public spaces.
“Somehow we can make this a pathway to new ideas,” he said.
Kevin Bright, the energy and sustainability director for the DMC EDA, said the effort also sought to translate people’s definitions of health into potential Discovery Walk features.
Those features are likely to provide varied opportunities for residents and visitors.
Where the Sisters of Saint Francis see the need to add new energy to Second Avenue, the Rev. Anjanette Bandel of Bethel Lutheran Church also sees a potential path for “holy meditation” by finding quiet spaces to reflect.
By combining a potential mix of activity and meditative spaces, she said the emerging changes can provide opportunities.
“I think it’s exciting to be collaborative as a community,” she said.
During the annual meeting that capped off the day’s celebration, Clarke touted the efforts made in the nearly five years since the 20-year DMC plan was approved.
“Things that are emerging now are nothing short of remarkable,” she said.