Month: April 2013

How forecasts for DMC are related to city and county long-range planning

Phil Wheeler, AICP Blog Author

The County Land Use Plan Update, the City’s Downtown Master Plan, and the Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG) Long-Range Transportation Plan all relied on forecasts developed by the Planning staff back in 2004. The Planning staff made the assumption that health care employment would maintain the same relative position in comparison with the rest of the nation that it has enjoyed for the past few decades. Because of the demographic changes affecting the country (with the aging of the baby boom, the demand for health care is increasing exponentially), this means that we assumed consistent strong growth in health care employment. Our total employment forecast for 2030 was 143,500 jobs.

Comparing our projections to the data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2010 shows that the recession had a significant impact for most industrial sectors in the County. Most notable was a 37% decline in manufacturing employment since 2000. Fortunately for our economy, this decline was offset by a 32% growth in health care employment, giving Olmsted County a net gain in jobs over the decade of 7%.

In other words, health care employment during the 2000’s maintained its relative edge.

Following the 2010 Census and the release of the State Demographic Center’s revised population forecasts, we have adjusted our employment forecasts. Assuming that manufacturing employment remains stable and adjusting the other sectors for the impact of the recession, our 2030 forecasted total employment without adjusting for the DMC’s internal forecasts would be 139,800 jobs. Adjusting for the DMC forecasts, and applying the local ratios of basic sector to support sector jobs, our total becomes 149,400 jobs. These are roughly consistent in total with our original forecasts, although the health sector is a larger share of the total.

Olmsted County has been through rapid employment growth before. From 1983 to 2003, we grew by 35,000 jobs. That was during a time when the baby boom was entering the labor force, however, and this will be during a time when the baby boom is retiring. This leaves growing employers with a potential labor force shortage. This shortage will have to be made up by increased commuting, transfers from other sectors of the economy, deferred or part time retirement, and increased migration. Our ability to rely on commuting will depend heavily on our ability to invest in safe and energy-efficient infrastructure.

Phil Wheeler, AICP, is the director of the Rochester Olmsted Planning Department and Executive Director of the Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments

What thoughts do you have about growth in Rochester and Olmsted County? Share your thoughts here.

DMC Update – Tuesday, April 30

Update on DMC Legislation

DMC has now passed both the House and Senate. The proposal will now proceed to the conference committee. After reconciliation, the bills will come back before each body for final passage before heading to the Governor for approval and his signature into law. While work remains to be done on the DMC proposal, strong support and a commitment to passage this session continues.

Community Presentations

The DMC Team, with the help of volunteers in the DMC Speakers Bureau, continues presentations, open houses, forums and visits to service groups, neighborhoods and community organizations to give background information and an opportunity for people to ask questions. To date, over 125 presentations have been given. If your group is interested in a presentation from DMC, please contact the team at [email protected].

High School Student: Youth have a stake in DMC

Gabriel Yeager, Blog Author

Rochester is an exciting, engaging environment that is currently building on artistic assets and youth. Through projects like the AboutYou survey, the city is connecting in an exciting and unique way. Through events like Thursdays on First and Social ICE, Rochester is fueling a culture revolution in great part to the efforts of the Rochester Downtown Alliance. Through urban housing developments, the UMR campus, and the implementation of Destination Medical Center, a youthful professional environment will emerge downtown. Take a weekend and explore everything downtown Rochester has to offer. From temporary art exhibits to restaurants with international flair, the downtown has set the tone for the city’s culture.

I was born in Las Vegas, and because of job opportunity my parents called Rochester home. Although we lived in the city, we had a garden in the countryside, biked along the Zumbro River, and hiked at Quarry Hill. Today, my family and I attend the Down by the Riverside concerts and Thursday’s on First weekly and look forward to Social ICE in the coldest months of the winter. I have heard that Rochester is the “pioneer in the prairie”– A culture defined by groundbreaking discoveries and medical research while nestled in a quaint town on the prairie.

I am involved in DMC because I feel the youth of the community must engage in the city’s creative placemaking. As DMC moves forward, the voice of the community will be heard, and ultimately the city will be an attractive place for recent college graduates and artists alike.

Gabriel shares his excitement about DMC in this video.

How can we make Rochester a more vibrant community to continue to draw young people to live and work? Share your ideas here.

DMC Update – Wednesday, April 23

Many following DMC have asked for a “one-stop” source for updates. We will post updates like these to the DMC blog at least once a week. Subscribe to DMC Blog in the right-hand navigation menu to receive update notifications.

DMC at the State Capitol

DMC participated at a hearing this week in front of the Senate Tax Committee. We are grateful to the Chairman, members of the Committee and DMC chief author, Senator Senjem for all of their hard work on this bill. We continue to be pleased with how DMC has progressed through the both House and now the Senate. We are reviewing the proposal in greater detail and will continue to work closely with our key state partners, the City of Rochester and Olmsted County as the DMC proposal moves through the process. The financing plan is strong and consistent with the principles we set forth at the beginning of this process.

  • Progress continues at the Capitol where we continue to work with legislators and staff on the proposed bills.
  • While there is still work to be done on finalizing details and aligning the House and Senate versions of the revised plan, we are appreciative of all the progress that has been made in the past week.  Clearly, momentum for DMC continues to build toward finding the right solution this session.

DMC Twitter Day

Wednesday, April 24 will be “DMC Tweet Day.” The goal is to flood the #MNLeg with positive messages about DMC. Here’s how to participate:

  1. Schedule tweets throughout the day. You’re encouraged to tweet why you support DMC; just be sure to include the hash tags #MNLeg and #DMCMN
  2. Retweet others’ messages as you see fit
  3. Encourage everyone you can think of to participate


Mayo’s Commitment to Minnesota

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about Dr. Noseworthy’s comment that 49 states would love to have Mayo Clinic. Did he really mean to suggest Mayo would move from Minnesota?

A: No. Mayo Clinic is committed to Rochester and Minnesota, and is not considering moving.  Without the appropriate context, comments from an interview with John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic, were interpreted by some to suggest that Mayo might consider leaving Minnesota. That is not the case. Dr. Noseworthy’s real message was two-fold.  First, for Mayo Clinic to expand in Minnesota, as outlined in the DMC plan, Rochester will need to invest in upgrading its infrastructure, and it will need support from the state. Second, Mayo Clinic is a major economic engine in Minnesota, which will only increase with the DMC proposal, and most states would welcome the kind of investment Mayo wants to make in the state.

These types of misunderstandings are a natural part of explaining new and complex initiatives such as DMC. Mayo will keep its existing operations in Minnesota, but it also is working hard so that it can grow in Minnesota.

Community Outreach

  • Our recent community engagement activities included a live forum on KTTC April 17, featuring DMC team members, legislators, representatives from the City and community. It was a productive discussion and another opportunity for us to share the DMC vision and plan with a broader audience as well as answer questions.
  • Over 120 presentations have been done in and around the broader community. There have been great questions and conversations started. If you have a question, a statement or a story to share- email [email protected] and we can continue the conversation on this blog post.

Personal experience leads to passion, advocacy for DMC

Brian Smidt, Blog Author
Brian Smidt, Blog Author

When I moved to Rochester in April of 2005 to start my career at Mayo Clinic as the Assistant Director of Facilities, most of my college friends were pursuing professions in metropolitan mainstays like Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Not surprisingly, my decision to relocate to a comparatively small city was met with a few raised eyebrows.

The reasons I had in favor of moving to Rochester, however, were supported by nearly two decades’ worth of personal experience.

My first encounter with the Med City was on Thanksgiving Day in 1989 when my mother announced she had cancer and had been referred to Mayo Clinic for treatment. On my 9th birthday just a few months later, my father called with news that mother had been diagnosed with neurofibrosarcoma (a rare form of cancer that affects only 0.16% of cancer patients) and I was whisked away to Rochester to be with her.

My mother spent five years being treated at Mayo Clinic – sometimes staying for several months at a time – and during those years, it wasn’t unusual for my visits to Rochester to span several weeks. Between dozens of clinic appointments and inpatient stays, Mayo staff grew to know me just as well as they knew my mother. Because members of her care team included notes in her medical record about my hobbies and interests, staff asked thoughtful questions about my dog, and some even helped me with homework problems.

The kindness and compassion shown to me as a child resonates with me to this day.

My mother survived and was the first radial nerve neurofibrosarcoma patient to not undergo an amputation.  Thanks to Mayo Clinic and its staff, I not only have my mother, but also a passion for delivering the best possible care to every patient and family member, every day!  My personal experience with Mayo Clinic – both past and present – is the reason why I am passionate about the Destination Medical Center initiative.  I want to do my part to ensure Mayo Clinic continues to deliver top quality care and Rochester continues to provide hospitality to every patient, every day.

Three things you may not know about DMC

Activity in the Minnesota Legislature has generated a lot of discussion in the media and within the community about DMC. peaceplazaHere are three things you may not know about the initiative.

1. There is urgency to getting DMC passed during this legislative session.
It’s important for the public financing component of DMC to get passed during this legislative session, but this is not due to political posturing or an effort on Mayo Clinic’s part to tell the State Legislature what to do.

Today’s health care environment is the most challenging in the history of this country. Mayo Clinic is actively working to make necessary adjustments to accommodate patient needs, but so are its competitors. Destination health care providers across the nation are replicating the Mayo model of high quality, affordable care. They are also working with their cities and states to enhance the destination status of their communities – frequently with public dollars.

One legislator suggested taking 8-9 years to pass legislation supporting DMC was reasonable. Health care doesn’t have 8-9 years. There is a need to act quickly to maintain Mayo, Rochester and Minnesota as a health care destination.

2. DMC is designed to complement the Rochester Downtown Master Plan, not replace it.
DMC’s plan for seven districts within the downtown core is complementary to the Rochester Downtown Master Plan. Any decisions about development within the plan are subject to the current approval process with the City of Rochester. No plan for development and construction exists. If the DMC legislation passes, there will be a community visioning process to help shape the first five years of development.

It’s also important to remember that DMC is a 20-year plan. Not all development will happen at once. DMC will fit with city and county planning for structured growth and to address potential social impact that naturally occurs as a city grows.

3. Your support of DMC is important.
As legislators consider DMC legislation, they need to hear from people who understand why DMC is important. We have a strong coalition of community organizations, local governments, businesses, labor organizations and others who are committed to DMC and making it a reality. Join us in working together to secure and expand Minnesota’s health and bio economic base and leadership position for generations to come. You can show your support for DMC by:

  • Visiting for more information and to sign up to get ongoing DMC news and updates;
  • Talking to your network of friends, neighbors, coworkers and community leaders about the DMC, the benefits it offers and the importance of successfully passing the DMC legislation this year;
  • Getting involved in advocacy by contacting legislators to express your support, writing a letter to the editor or an opinion piece in the media;
  • Adopting a resolution of support from your organization or distributing information to your membership on DMC and why they should support it.

What constitutes a ‘livable’ city?

Mitzi Baker, Blog Author

Livable communities are welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.   The transportation system is balanced, convenient, and safe for persons of all ages and abilities -where walking, biking, and transit are viable options for residents.  They have neighborhoods where persons of all income ranges can live, work, play, and socialize.  They are communities that value a strong education system which is supported by those with, and without, children in the schools.  These are places where the economically poor and disadvantaged can live healthy lives with hope and opportunity, along with those who are advantaged.  They offer outdoor spaces where people can connect with nature, recreate, and relax.  These communities are deliberate and adaptable, ready and willing to plan and implement strategies to be vibrant, healthy, inclusive and resilient.

The Planning profession takes care to develop, recommend, and implement strategies that contribute to quality of life; to prepare and plan for growth and adaptation while minimizing adverse impacts.   Locally, efforts of your Planning Department include addressing community needs for affordable housing, transportation options, open space, clean air and water, access to goods and services, including safe routes for walking and biking, as well as healthy and active community design.

Over the past six years, a great collaboration has emerged between local medical professionals, planners, and public health representatives to draw attention to the connections between community design, opportunities for healthy living, and public health outcomes. Together, we’ve been working to increase opportunities for walking, biking, and access to transit and to support policies and practices that help make the healthy choice the easy choice.

By working with other agencies, and with elected officials, and the community, we strive to provide expert professional recommendations to support a high quality of life in a healthy, vibrant, and resilient community.

Mitzi A. Baker, AICP is assistant planning director for the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department

Livable City is one of the seven areas of focus for DMC. Share ideas you have for making Rochester a more livable city by posting a comment below.

Cancer, community and coconut cake

Karen Trewin, Blog Author

I found myself in the back of an ambulance speeding up Highway 52 on a snowy day in December of 1999. I had just spent the morning in the emergency department at the hospital in Decorah, Iowa, where doctors were puzzled about what they were seeing on an ultrasound of my 4 year-old son’s liver. We had taken him to the hospital in the early hours of the morning with an acute stomachache. We thought it might be the flu, or even appendicitis. We were shocked when our family doctor came to us and said, “We think this may be serious. We need to send you to Mayo.”

In many ways, we were fortunate. We lived just over an hour from Rochester. The cancer my son had was rare, but Mayo Clinic oncologists had him diagnosed and in his first round of chemotherapy within 30 hours. He is now 17, and today, you would never guess there was ever anything wrong with him. Our experience at Mayo led me to want to work here, and eventually drove my decision to be part of the Destination Medical Center team.

Still, the 10 months of treatment wasn’t an easy time for us. Our son’s treatment was grueling, and it required long periods of hospitalization with short trips home in between. He was frequently put in isolation because of the risk of infection. My daily outing was to cross Second Street to have a meal at the Canadian Honker. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time, and craved scrambled eggs, rye toast and grape jelly. The servers got to know me quite well, and frequently put my order in if they saw me headed across the street.

After his initial round of treatment, my son’s blood counts were not bouncing back to the levels needed to start treatment again. This was scary, because the doctors told us the cancer could come raging back if treatment wasn’t started again in a timely manner.  Finally, we got word that we could start again. My husband and I headed over to the Canadian Honker and shared a piece of their famous coconut cake- a practice we would continue whenever there was a milestone to celebrate.

Enough time has gone by that many of the experiences we went through are fuzzy. But I’ll always remember the hospitality at the Canadian Honker and how good that coconut cake tasted – especially as part of a victory celebration.

DMC is a strategy designed, in part, to offer the optimal experience to patients, families, visitors and community members. This isn’t just the right thing to do – we also know that a positive experience improves health outcomes and keeps bringing people back. This is good for patients and it’s good for us.

I have learned in the 7 years I have worked in Rochester that everyone has a great experience story. As we plan the future of health care in Rochester and in Minnesota, we’d like to hear your experience stories and why you feel they’re important. Please comment on this post or send your story to me at [email protected].