Month: February 2023

DMCC Board Approves Funding for Soldiers Field Memorial Park Improvements

On February 9th, the Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors approved $10 million to aid in funding improvements to Soldiers Field Memorial Park. After months of engagement with local stakeholder groups, a collaborative plan was put forth with a shared vision to benefit the greatest amount the Rochester community.

“The DMCC board not only recognizes the importance of Soldiers Field Memorial Park to the DMC initiative but also the immense significance it has for all of Rochester,” said DMCC board chair Pamela Wheelock. “This park has been a signature public space for decades and these improvements, selected through extensive community engagement, will make sure Soldiers Field continues to be welcoming and inclusive to residents and visitors alike.”

There are several key features that align with the DMC Development plan including using sustainable building practices and focusing on universal design. Some of the park improvements include:

  • Expanded aquatics area with lap and wading pools, lazy river, and a splash pad.
  • Inclusive playground and shelter on the east side
  • Basketball courts and track improvements
  • Downtown riverwalk

The Rochester City Council will consider this item at their Wednesday, February 22 regular meeting. The cost of the project is estimated at $22.5 million with $10 million coming from DMC funds and the remainder from federal, state, and local resources.

The DMCC Board of Directors also approved support for the next steps in the redevelopment of the downtown waterfront. This culminates a comprehensive community engagement process to reconnect to the Zumbro River, create a signature public space along the river, and open underutilized city-owned properties to future private development.

“Cities throughout the country are rediscovering the importance of connecting with the natural beauty of their riverfronts,” stated DMCC board member Kim Norton. “Rochester has an opportunity to do the same and to do so in a way that provides for both public and private development, as well as reconnecting with its origins.”

The funds will be used for the following:

  • $350,000 for riverfront design and engineering including:
    • Working with appropriate State and Federal agencies to discuss necessary modifications to the river channel wall managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
    • Red Owl/Time Theater property analysis
    • Site design and development preparation
  • Up to $450,000 for the purchase of the Olmsted County-owned “Mr. Muffler” site.

The next DMCC Board meeting is set for Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.


About DMC

Destination Medical Center (DMC) is the largest public-private economic initiative in Minnesota’s history. The 20-year plan to transform Rochester into a global destination for health and wellness will attract developers, investors, startups, and entrepreneurs to live, work and play in America’s City for Health.

Announcement of Downtown Rochester Task Force

Rochester, Minn. – In response to the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on downtown Rochester, a task force is being assembled to identify priority issues to be addressed.

The Downtown Rochester Task Force includes members from the City of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, Diversity Council, Experience Rochester, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Area Economic Development Agency, Inc., Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and Rochester Downtown Alliance.

“The pandemic was a disrupter to many aspects of our national, state, and local economies. How and where people work, shop, and participate in activities has changed,” states Kim Norton, mayor of the City of Rochester. “While downtown Rochester has and will change, there are several opportunities in how we can strengthen and become a more resilient downtown. And we must do this work together.”

The Downtown Rochester Task Force invites the community and downtown businesses to participate in upcoming work sessions to share specific challenges they are experiencing related to downtown. Together, attendees will identify both priority concerns and solutions. Once key priorities are identified, an action plan will be created to address each concern.

Four work sessions—three in-person and one virtual—are planned.

  • Monday, February 27 from 6-7 p.m., Fagan Studio and Studio 324, 324 South Broadway Avenue
  • Friday, March 3 from 9-10 a.m., Chateau Theatre, 15 1st Street SW
  • Monday, March 6 from 2-3 p.m., Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria, 130 5th Street SW
  • Tuesday, March 14 from 10-11 a.m. (virtual)

Patrick Seeb, executive director of Destination Medical Center, shares, “Everyone has a stake in a healthy downtown. Now is the time to be intentional about the steps we take to help accelerate recovery. We will build on existing strengths while focusing on the future.”

The Downtown Rochester Task Force will use an accelerated model in creating an action plan, which will allow participants to identify concerns and work on solutions quickly. The goal is to present an action plan by May 2023 to guide the Downtown Rochester Task Force moving forward. Register for the work sessions here.