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Staver: As DMC unfolds, we must protect city's values

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Rochester City Council President Randy Staver responds to a question during a Post Bulletin Dialogue in November, after winning re-election.

An article recently in a Mayo Clinic publication told the story of a patient who received a diagnosis that meant her remaining life would be very short.

In the days that followed, accepting the diagnosis as best as one could, she mentioned a simple wish for one last piece of pumpkin pie. Upon hearing the story through a request from Mayo nursing staff searching for a top-quality pie, a local business went out of its way to make a pumpkin pie the patient was able to enjoy shortly before passing away.

It was a simple, compassionate act that hopefully made this person's remaining life just a little bit better.

The simplicity of this story illustrates how and why our community was founded and why it continues to thrive. Stories such as this are all around us. At its core, that is the vision encompassed by Destination Medical Center, a vision of innovation and growth but also one rooted in compassion.

Initially, the DMC strategy focused on the big picture, with an emphasis on a long-range vision and articulating a national and international message. There was and is a great deal of talk about bright, shiny buildings and lots of new amenities. The Heart of the City and Discovery Square districts are just a few of the conceptual ideas contained in the DMC plan.

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In quantitative terms, Destination Medical Center continues to make progress. Even as planning continues, many individual projects already are underway, and the development goal of $200 million very likely will be achieved in 2017. This means that needed state funding will start to become available, which in turn will help support some of the costs associated with anticipated growth.

At the same time, Mayo Clinic continues to grow as witnessed by the recent announcement of an ambitious $214 million expansion plan at Saint Marys Hospital. And other businesses are thriving as well, creating jobs, growing our economy and making Rochester an even better place to live.

There's a great deal of promise in the DMC vision. Some in the community wonder if the promise is genuine and achievable. While the engagement of local citizens at the start probably felt more like marketing than gathering of feedback and constructive involvement, there has been a concerted effort from the start to engage others at a level never seen before in Rochester.

This engagement will be extremely important to the success we hope to achieve.

We have an amazing community. The vision for DMC is about so much more than new buildings, jobs and amenities. At its core, it's about the identity of Rochester, the heart and soul of our city. As DMC planning continues to unfold and the city grows, we must not lose sight of our values, our compassion and neighborliness, expressed in gestures as simple as baking a pie for a patient in her last days.

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