Mayor makes case for Mayo Civic Center funding in letter
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede makes the city's intentions to apply for a $47.5 million economic development grant to expand the Mayo Civic Center clear in a new letter.
Brede has sent a letter to Department of Employment and Economic Development Mark Phillips touting the need for the expansion.
"There are many medical conferences that have expressed interest in coming to Rochester but have found our present facility to lack sufficient convention space and finishes to compete for regional and national medical conferences," Brede wrote.
The plan calls for building meeting rooms, a ballroom and support facilities at the civic center in hopes of attracting medical, bioscience and high tech conferences. Preliminary estimates show that the Mayo Civic Center brings in $20 million in direct spending from out-of-state visitors and the expansion project would boost that up to more than $27 million.
The city requested $35 million from the state for the project. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton included funding for the project in his $775 million bonding bill. The Senate version of the bonding bill initially included the project, but it was stripped out of the final $496 million bonding bill. Several communities are eyeing these bonding dollars for project. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has already sent a letter to Phillips looking for $27 million to build a new St. Paul Saints stadium. The Metropolitan Council is also expected to seek funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. Chatfield also wants a piece of the money to renovate the Chatfield Center of the Arts.
One interesting thing to note — the letter repeatedly refers to the project as the "Mayo Civic Center — Convention Center Addition" project. For years, it's been referred to as an expansion of the Mayo Civic Center . But state Rep. Duane Quam, R-Byron, recently told members of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce that he believes the project would have had a better chance of getting funded if it was called the "Mayo Convention Center" instead of "Mayo Civic Center."
Click here to Download Brede's letter