Development Plan update provides a look back, forward and COVID-19 Impact
During the Thursday, August 27, 2020 Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board meeting, board members applauded progress achieved during the first five years of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative. The Board previewed a required update to the 2015 DMC Development Plan, which documented progress in key metrics that exceeded first phase (2015 – 2019) goals in areas including private investment, jobs and tax revenue.
The DMC Economic Development Agency (EDA) has engaged economic consultancy HR&A Advisors to conduct a scenario analysis of the potential impacts COVID-19 had on the local economy and the DMC Initiative. Their findings will guide DMC’s priorities over the next five years. The study is currently underway and will be published in the final version of the Development Plan update this fall and will also be posted to dmc.mn. After a 60-day public comment period, the update will be approved by the Rochester City Council and DMCC Board.
“As we continue to reach for and realize our vision, even as the pandemic creates heightened uncertainty, our focus remains steadfast: We want a Rochester that retains authenticity while offering extraordinary opportunities for residents and businesses to thrive,” said Lisa Clarke, executive director, DMC Economic Development Agency.
The DMCC Board recognized a significant milestone in transportation planning in the DMC district by endorsing a Small Starts federal grant application to support Rochester Rapid Transit. Covering approximately three miles, the bus rapid transit (BRT) route will run from the West Transit Village (an extension of the DMC district) in northwest Rochester to downtown Rochester via 2nd Street SW, with eight station stops along the route.
Rapid Transit stations will include shelter, heat, level boarding, real-time passenger information, and off-board fare payment. At Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys Hospital station, a transit center will be constructed on the north side of 2nd Street SW along with a pedestrian tunnel connecting the hospital to the transit center. If approved by the Federal Transit Authority, the Small Starts grant will fund 49 percent of the $114 million project.
“From the beginning, we’ve recognized mobility as the most important issue,” said DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak. “This project is much more–it connects places to other places with really great mobility. It builds community and represents a new model for development.”
Additionally, the DMCC Board received an update on DMC EDA’s response to COVID-19 and its support of Rochester businesses. Using capital infrastructure dollars, DMC EDA purchased barriers to enhance outdoor dining throughout the downtown core and is now researching options to extend outdoor dining into the fall by including weather protections. DMC EDA has engaged and is supporting a number of programs and activities including small business grants, education and the Rochester Ready collaboration to ensure a safe and resilient recovery for Rochester.
The DMCC Board also approved the DMC EDA 2021 workplan and budgets.