While promoters of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative has focused largely on the economic benefits of the proposed 20-year expansion plan, a community group is meeting to focus on the societal impacts the growth will bring.

"There's so many things that growth will produce that are positive; there's also challenges that growth produces," said Olmsted County Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden, who attended last week's meeting.

Mayor Ardell Brede also joined the group last week, and he said he plans to reconvene it sometime in July. It includes representatives from local nonprofits, city and county government, Mayo Clinic and business organizations and the University of Minnesota Rochester.

The school district and many other organizations that support the community are going to have to make adjustments to how they operate, Kiscaden said.

"It's everything from do we need more schools? Do we need more law enforcement personnel? Do we need more housing? How are we going to deal with all of these various challenges and demands for service that come with an expanding population," she said.

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Also, as Brede pointed out, not all of the 35,000 new jobs projected for Rochester over the next 20 years are high-paying positions. In fact, a large portion will be in the hotel and restaurant industry, paying lower wages, and that means more people in Rochester struggling to get by.

"So, that will put some pressures on the community" and county's social services, Brede said.

Brede and Kiscaden said some of the other people involved in the group are: Dave Beal of the United Way of Olmsted County; Jay Hesley of the University of Minnesota Rochester; former Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt, who is with the Rochester Area Foundation; John Wade, president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce; and Rochester-Olmsted Planning Director Phil Wheeler.

The group has discussed ways it might share information and coordinate planning, Kiscaden said.

"I think rather than having every group go off and work on their own, it's really helpful to be able to share what's being learned along the way ... and look for opportunities for synergy, not only in the planning process but in the future for service delivery," she said.

Brede said two members of group will be talking with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, which is part of the University of Minnesota, to inquire about possible consulting services.