Discovery Walk Project Updates

Planning for the future by creating a connected city

What is Discovery Walk? 

Discovery Walk is a four-block linear parkway in downtown Rochester, MN along 2nd Avenue SW that will serve pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. This multipurpose public space and streetscape is the first of its kind in Rochester. The vision for this project is to create a high amenity landscaped road and utility reconstruction project in the middle of downtown that prioritizes pedestrian experience while also maintaining flexibility for bike and vehicular access, civic events, and supports future development.

The following characteristics were developed through various community engagement initiatives and with the input of community “co-designers” (referenced below).

Discovery Walk will:

  • Feel like a park
  • Be flexible for access and events
  • Promote health, wellness and innovation
  • Connect Soldiers Field, Heart of the City, Mayo Clinic and 2nd Street
  • Provide a unique program and experience
  • Be accessible and inclusive to everyone
  • Support future development

Where will Discovery Walk be located?

Discovery Walk covers a four-block distance along 2nd Avenue SW in downtown Rochester, from Soldiers Field Park to Annenberg Plaza. It is part of Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square sub-district and connects with Heart of the City public space – all within a 10-minute walk.

Who is involved in Discovery Walk?

  • Destination Medical Center
  • City of Rochester
  • Coen+Partners
  • Latent Design
  • Kimley-Horn
  • Knutson Construction (owner’s representative)
  • EZ Fabricating
  • White Space Design
  • Community Co-Designers
    • Destination Medical Center, in partnership with University of Minnesota Design Center worked with seven Community Co-designers to help guide the design process.
      Co-Designers are connectors to under-represented community members with very different perspectives – cultural, religious, mobility, mental health, and socio-economic. The Community Co-Designers engaged with their communities to discuss how design and programming can be inclusive. The co-designers will continue to have a consulting role in the design process to ensure that the project maintains a focus on health, equity and collaboration, early and throughout the design of public projects, policies and programs. Community Co-Designers include:
      • Lap Nguyen
      • Chao Mwatela
      • Jeremy Westrum
      • Krista Jacobson
      • Jennifer Rho
      • Wafa Elkhalifa
      • Laurie Kumferman

  • Regional Artists
    • Ayub HajiOmar, Zoe Cinel, and Sophia Chai

      The Discovery Walk design team selected three area artists to help incorporate art into the project. The art is intended to be integrated into the design of Discovery Walk, not just an added element. The artists will be able to consult with the design team, community co-designers, and client team for input and feedback during the design process on both concept and technical development. Artists include:

    • Ayub Haji Omar, Rochester, MN
    • Sophia Chai, Rochester, MN
    • Zoe Cinel, Rochester, MN

What is the Discovery Walk timeline?

Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) Board of Directors and Rochester City Council approved plans to move forward with construction bidding. Start of construction is planned for summer 2021.


Discovery Walk in the News

Co-designers bring community to DMC projects

Post Bulletin


Five things to know about plans for Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Walk

Med City Beat


DMC previews Discovery Walk project