This week, the City of Rochester and DMC cut the ribbon on a full-scale model of a future transit station for Rochester’s new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to be known as Link. Constructed from wood, nails, and paint, this temporary installation promises an immersive experience where community members can learn more about Greater Minnesota’s first BRT line.
The stations are being designed with the benefit of insights from a dozen co-designers, community members who contributed ideas about how to make the stations more appealing, functional, safe, and user friendly. Features will include level boarding, enclosed spaces for shelter, off-board fare payment, high quality lighting, and passenger information screens.
On Monday, Sept. 13, officials from the City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC-EDA) toured an installation built to demonstrate how bus rapid transit (BRT) will be a major part of the future of public transit in Rochester.
Rochester’s rapid transit project is now “Link.” The new name and logo are integrated into a full-scale, branded BRT station model located at the future Mayo Civic Center stop on the future 2.6-mile route. The station model promises to be an immersive experience where members of the public can visit, walk through, and learn more about Greater Minnesota’s first BRT line.
On two separate nights this summer, Mayo Civic Center’s Riverfront Plaza was alight with paper lanterns, cheerful reunions, and healthy arrays of international foods and artisanal goods. That vibrance is a hallmark of the Night Market, an event founded by Tiffany Alexandria as a way to bring a bit of Asia to the Med City. The third and final Night Market for 2021 runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 at the Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Art Center.
The recent Hyatt House ribbon-cutting ceremony marked a milestone for Rochester. The event heralded the completion of the city’s first Qualified Opportunity Zone project: a hotel of 172 apartment-style, long-stay suites designed to provide crucial comfort for patients traveling into the city.
“This is really a home away from home for people who need a place of comfort and safety,” said Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for Discovery Square. “People who are staying here become members of our community.”
Thousands of people returned to downtown Rochester this month to celebrate the return of Thursdays Downtown, a summer staple in the community. Amid the live music, food, and shopping, attendees could also spend time checking out the big changes happening in the Heart of the City Phase 1 project.
DMC Economic Development Agency executive director Patrick Seeb, City of Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, and Rochester Downtown Alliance executive director Holly Masek stopped by the Heart of the City Thursday morning to welcome residents and visitors to the first Thursdays Downtown of the year. They shared that as the summer progresses, parts of the Heart of the City project will re-open as soon as they’re complete.
If speaking on behalf of downtowns across America, Mark Twain might have quipped “…the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
In most communities, the downtown is its central gathering place, home to event and hotel venues, a concentration of businesses and their workforce, and the greatest mix of unique restaurants and retail. It is where baby boomers and millennials alike have migrated to live a vibrant urban lifestyle. It is where traveling visitors often begin their exploration of a region.
Spring brought the Rochester Rapid Transit project positive news: First, the project received the support of the federal government as U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg announced a recommended $2.5 billion budget for new and expanded public transit services across the country, including $56.1 million for Rochester Rapid Transit. Additionally, Rochester Rapid Transit received an official FTA Rating of Medium-High. Here’s what this news means for the project as it moves forward:
“My announcement today is that all lights are green when it comes to this important rapid transit bus project for the city of Rochester,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar last Friday at a press conference at the Rochester Government Center.
Senator Klobuchar was joined by Rochester City Council President Brooke Carlson and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) Executive Director Patrick Seeb.
She highlighted the project’s potential impact to the city’s fabric of caregiving, as well as the high-level federal interest in it. In May of 2021 it was announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) had rated the project as “Medium-High.” Her former presidential debate stage mate, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, included $56 million for the project in his proposed $2.5 billion budget for 2022. These “breadcrumbs,” as she called them Friday, are why the senator sees green lights.
One Discovery Square, Mortenson’s life sciences building which opened in 2019 in the Discovery Square sub-district in downtown Rochester, reached a major milestone this spring: the building is now 100 percent leased. Thermo Fisher Scientific is the latest company to commit to space alongside other tenants, including Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota Rochester, Epic, Philips, Boston Scientific, RION, WuXi Diagnostics, Cytotheryx, Exact Sciences and Café Steam. The Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors at a recent meeting commended the continued momentum in the sub-district.