You might have been caught by surprise if you walked by the Peace Plaza on a brisk October evening and saw more than 200 people gathered together sharing a family-style meal outside. But that’s exactly what happened on October 17 during the inaugural Destination Medical Center (DMC) Annual Meeting, where the community came together to celebrate the impact of the first five years of the 20-year DMC initiative.
The afternoon kicked off in the historic Chateau Theatre, which was opened to the public one final time before renovations on the iconic building begin this fall. Outside the theater in the Peace Plaza, several public space design concepts for Heart of the City were tested through prototypes. Learn more about these prototyping installations here.
Following the open house and prototyping, the crowd moved toward the west side of the Peace Plaza for dinner. DMC leaders took the stage for a brief program that highlighted the impressive progress of the Destination Medical Center initiative after its first five years.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be sharing this time of success and celebrating the progress of the DMC work over the past few years,” said DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. She told the audience DMC has moved into the implementation phase and the community now has two choices. “We can lean in and step into the change or we can step back into the comfort of what we know.” Clarke said DMC is leaning in – “fiercely.”
“Why are we having dinner outside in October?” she asked. “Because DMC is about celebrating Minnesota, and we refuse to apologize for our weather. In fact, we embrace it, and you are helping us test the environment to see who will come out to use this space in different types of weather. Yes, you are part of our prototyping.”
Clarke wrapped up by reminding the audience that, as we work to attract talent and business from around the globe to Rochester, “we celebrate our weather as well as our business climate.”
Mayo Clinic’s Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Bolton, who also serves as President of the DMC Economic Development Agency Board of Directors, told the audience that, since DMC was initiated, 21 private projects are in the pipeline, under construction or recently completed. “The market is validating the DMC vision,” he said, “and your commitment to participating in this change helps ensure that Rochester, Olmsted County, and Minnesota fully capitalize on DMC.”
Bolton reiterated that Mayo Clinic is also on track to meet its commitment to the city of Rochester and the DMC initiative. In total, Mayo Clinic will invest approximately $1.2 billion in Rochester facilities and equipment by 2021.
The final speaker of the evening was DMC Corporation Board of Directors Chair and Minneapolis Foundation President and CEO R.T. Rybak. “We are at an important moment of time in Rochester’s history,” he said. “With the tools the city has been given by the state of Minnesota, it is like no other city in the country right now. These tools allow us to truly transform this community to meet the needs of patients, visitors, and community members.”
He acknowledged that Rochester is growing and, with that growth, comes challenges. So Rybak extended his own challenge to the community. “Whatever the growth, we need to grow together,” he said, encouraging the community to share ideas, show up at meetings, and build partnerships.
A quote by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was included in the printed DMC Impact Report that highlights DMC’s statewide significance:
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of the Destination Medical Center to Rochester and to Minnesota. This monumental public-private partnership promises to create tens of thousands of jobs in our state, deliver world-class health care for people throughout the world, and advance our entire region’s economy and quality of life. Already, the Destination Medical Center initiative has produced 23 new economic development projects, created more than 3,300 jobs, and attracted $428 million in private sector investments. Working together, we can build upon that tremendous progress, and successfully secure Rochester’s place as ‘America’s City for Health’ for generations to come.”
Check out the DMC Annual Meeting photo gallery here.