DMC Corp. Board presents Rochester with revised development plan
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Destination Medical Center Corporation Board submitted a revised version of the DMC development plan to the Rochester City Council Thursday morning.
The development plan, first released by the DMC Economic Development Agency last month, is the first document to provide detailed structure for the $6 billion private-public partnership.
But the plan is a fluid document, meaning changes will be made during its 20-year lifespan. Board Chair Tina Smith began Thursday's discussion by emphasizing that point.
"This is a tool that we can use to guide our economic development efforts going forward," said Smith, who is also Minnesota's lieutenant governor. "What we are not approving, however, is a definitive block-by-block 'this is what the projects are going to look like.'"
Smith noted that each individual project will needed to be voted on one by one.
A full explanation of how the process works is available on the DMC website.
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede wants things to get moving.
"To date, the public has only seen the money that we've spent," said Brede, who is guaranteed a spot on the board because of his position. The city has contributed about $7.3 million toward the planning process. "They need to see something more tangible than that."
That sentiment was echoed by Bill George, who represents Mayo Clinic on the board. He said the first priority should be to begin work on the Heart of the City, one of the six key districts outlined in the development plan.
"I think the residents and the visitors need to see something happen and we need to build momentum," said George. "And then at the same time, we can be working on Discovery Square, which will take a little bit longer [than the Heart of the City]."
Discovery Square (featured in the cover photo) is significant because it provides space for new science and technology companies to locate in Rochester.
"Discovery Square is the number one place where we should start investing,” said former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who was appointed to the board by Gov. Dayton. “I’m sick to death of the brain power in this community being tapped by some start-up company somewhere in Palo Alto.”
Plan moves forward
The plan now enters a 60-day public comment period before heading to the city council. Ed Hruska, who serves on both the council and the DMC board, said the council will take up the plan in late March following a public hearing.
The board is expected to give the plan final approval the following month.
Click here to watch a replay of the entire meeting.
(Cover photo: Discovery Square / DMC Development Plan)