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Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith

Nearly a year ago, the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board adopted the DMC development plan, a comprehensive plan designed to leverage decades of innovation and medical advancement to secure Rochester as the world's premier health destination with a thriving local community.

We've accomplished a lot over a short time period. Rochester has experienced $152.4 million in private investments in the designated DMC districts since mid-2013. We've built the project pipeline and driven local, national and global awareness of the opportunities in Rochester.

Ambitious undertakings like this one — the largest economic development initiative in the history of Minnesota — are inherently challenging. We are now in the implementation phase, undertaking unprecedented process adaptation for the development plan, and recognize the journey has not always been easy. There is always an opportunity to improve our communications and our processes with each other, would-be developers and entrepreneurs, or with you.

While some feel the pace of development has been moving slowly, others feel it is moving way too fast. During the past year, we have invested in planning and public input and feedback. We know the DMC initiative will only be successful if it's the product of collaboration and reflects the needs of the entire community. At the same time, we need to keep in mind our first responsibilities: ensuring responsible, deliberate growth and the careful stewardship of taxpayer resources.

These priorities mean not every proposed project will get built, but they are critical to developing Rochester in an intentional, long-term way that works for everyone.

The Rochester community can be proud of its many collective gains. Rochester has seen hundreds of units of housing for growing families and its workforce. Currently, there are projects in the pipeline at various stages of development in the DMC district. Hundreds of hotel rooms will be added to meet patient demands, along with tens of thousands of square feet of retail space, and more than 50,000 square feet of new office space where innovation and new technologies will be discovered — to thrust Rochester into the future.

There is so much more coming. Current projects underway include the First Avenue Flats in the Central Station District, the Lofts at Mayo Park in the Downtown Waterfront District and the 501 Building and entrepreneur-driven Conley Maass project in Discovery Square.

We are well positioned to surpass the $200 million threshold of private investment by the end of 2016, triggering the state's support for public infrastructure improvements. However, it also demonstrates DMC is a viable economic development initiative positioning Rochester and the state of Minnesota for decades to come.

As we start year two of the DMC development plan, we expect this growth to continue because it's built around a proven asset: the innovations and creativity of Mayo Clinic and Southeast Minnesota. Over the next few years, Discovery Square will leverage these strengths to attract entrepreneurs ready to break the next big advancement in biomedicine, medical devices, or medical information technology. By investing in Discovery Square, we will diversify Rochester's economy, attracting workforce from across the world.

We also are excited about continued investments in housing, health care, transportation, and arts and culture that ensure Rochester community members, patients and visitors enjoy the highest quality of life.

Moving forward, we will continue to bring area leaders and stakeholders to the table to hear a variety of voices as part of the planning for the various sub-districts. Community advisory groups are essential collaborators that give voice to the views of all our residents. Recently, two advisory groups have been formed for Heart of the City and the Chateau Theatre.

Public involvement and partnership are fundamental to the success of the Destination Medical Center initiative and have brought us to an exciting point. No doubt there will be challenges ahead, but we are more optimistic than ever about what we are building together.

We hope you'll join us to make the Destination Medical Center a success by creating a high-quality experience for those who live, work, learn, play and heal in Rochester.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is the chairwoman of the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board, and Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede sits on the DMCC board.

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