By Lisa Clarke, DMC Economic Development Agency executive director
Recently, I had a day when I was stopped several times by people who wanted to talk with me about how excited they are about DMC and its potential.
I spoke with a baby boomer couple who moved downtown and are amazed at the progress.
I talked with a team of sisters who are small business owners – they have lived through 15 years of changes in Rochester’s downtown and are confident about their business’ future success.
I visited with an entrepreneur who moved here because of what she heard about DMC activity.
I heard from a physician at Mayo who is looking forward to hiring a new doctor in his department who wants to live downtown and feels there are good job opportunities for his spouse.
I talked with a Mayo Clinic patient who heard about DMC and wants to talk to me about investing in Rochester for retail development.
All of these conversations about how DMC is impacting our community happened in just one day.
They have good reason to believe in DMC. It reached a major milestone last year when the private investment threshold required to release state dollars for public infrastructure improvements was not only met but surpassed.
There are currently over 20 projects in the DMC district at various stages of development – from discussions to construction.
With more than 3,300 jobs added in Rochester since 2014, DMC is on target with job growth, and construction activity at the four DMC-funded projects will result in more than 1,000 combined construction jobs.
This great progress demonstrates the strength of both the Rochester community and the entire southeast Minnesota region as economic generators. And it’s only going to get stronger, thanks to continued collaborative efforts from our public and private partners.
I know growth brings challenges, such as employee recruitment and workforce housing. The DMC Economic Development Agency (EDA) is working with the city of Rochester, Olmsted County, higher education, community, and regional organizations to find solutions.
DMC is a large and complex initiative with many moving parts, so it’s important to continue communication at many levels. The DMC EDA is working on additional outreach efforts to continue community and statewide conversations, answer questions, seek feedback, and listen.
As an example, in February, DMC EDA team members attended the Rochester Area Builders Home Show at the Mayo Civic Center. It was a great opportunity to “show and share.” A 3D model of the DMC district helped bring the Destination Medical Center story to life and allowed people to ask questions and learn more about what’s next. We’ll do more of these activities throughout the year.
Rochester is special. We’re home to Mayo Clinic and those leading the way in health care innovation. Rochester is also home to excellent businesses of all sizes and a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem that is fueling and inspiring startups to realize their ideas and contribute to the economy.
DMC is a collaborative effort to grow Rochester as a vibrant epicenter for opportunity and growth. I look forward to continued conversations about the future and its infinite possibilities. And if you see me out and about – I’d love to hear what’s on your mind about DMC.