The last hurdle in Destination Medical Center development plans could be cleared tonight at a public hearing.
The Destination Medical Center Corp. Board of Directors will host a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. in the Mayo Civic Center Presentation Hall. The meeting will be an opportunity for the DMCC board to formally adopt the DMC development plan, a lengthy document detailing objectives for the 20-year buildout of the downtown.
The Rochester City Council approved the plan March 23, opening the opportunity for the DMCC board to adopt the plan.
If adopted, the next step in DMC action will be for the city and the DMCC board to engage in budgeting and capital improvement planning.
The public will have an opportunity to give feedback on the development plan prior to the board's vote.
Prior to the public hearing, the Post-Bulletin submitted selected readers' questions for a question and answer with Lisa Clarke, division chair, community engagement Mayo Clinic Public Affairs and interim executive director, DMC Economic Development Agency. Questions are in bold, and Clarke's responses follow.
The public has had an opportunity to view design concept drawings. How detailed are these drawings with respect to individual buildings, for example, the downtown library? What is the intended purpose of design concept drawings at this time and what, in your opinion, do they convey to the viewer?
The renderings are meant to provide a vision for the vibrant downtown that the DMC initiative can bring to Rochester in the next 20 years. The drawings are not final, and do not dictate where individual businesses will be located. DMC believes the library is a major community asset and important gathering place that should remain in a downtown location.
When will construction of DMC-related private projects and public infrastructure projects begin? The city of Rochester has approved the development plan and the DMCC board will have the opportunity to adopt the development plan April 23. How quickly could the public expect to see DMC projects take shape?
Once the DMCC board approves the development plan, the DMC initiative will transition from the planning phase to the implementation phase. The DMCC board and the city of Rochester will work together to prioritize projects and resources as the DMC initiative moves into the implementation phase. The approval process, criteria and documentation are currently being created by the city and EDA. Investment will be largely driven by private parties who propose projects within the DMC Development District.
How will other public services adapt to the changes DMC could bring? How could, for example, the public school system or the police department be affected and are these services being considered in the planning of DMC?
DMC planners and Rochester city officials worked very closely in the DMC planning process and will continue to do so. The city of Rochester has a Comprehensive Plan that it is currently in the process of updating. The DMC development plan and the city of Rochester's Comprehensive Plan are complementary. Additionally, DMC and the city are working together with Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. on its Journey to Growth Plan to prepare for growth and social impacts.
How does transportation play into the DMC plan, both in terms of bringing people to Rochester and inside Rochester? Are there plans for rail transportation from outside the city, or competitive flights to and from the Rochester airport? What plans are in place for downtown transit?
The transportation goal for the DMC initiative is to develop mobility and transit solutions to support the growth the initiative will generate. The development plan is meant to help guide and prioritize transportation projects and investment for implementation. Developing transportation solutions will involve a comprehensive assessment of current transportation needs and potentially re-evaluating the way we think about transportation in Rochester. It's not just about cars. We're talking about bikes, trains, buses, parking, air travel, rail and how we accommodate a more multi-modal approach to improve travel for residents and visitors into the future. DMC and the city are working closely together to define the future of transit for Rochester.
Where do the DMC boundaries extend to and how can the public follow plans for individual buildings and projects in these areas as plans develop?
DMC has published maps of the district boundaries. To see maps and photos, visit www.dmc.mn and view the draft development plan. Once the DMCC board approves the draft development plan, the EDA will begin working to establish the process for approving individual projects. In order to be approved for the DMC initiative, the project will have to meet the defined criteria and go through the approval process. Projects will be considered at public DMCC and city meetings, and project information will be available at www.dmc.mn.
How will the success or failure of DMC be measured over the 20-year timeline of the project?
The draft development plan outlines private and public investments and strategies to help guide the planning, financing, marketing and construction of the DMC initiative. The goal is to foster and direct strategic investment to elevate Rochester and Minnesota as a global destination for health and wellness. Individual metrics will be established for certain components of the development plan.