Mayo plan aims to make Rochester world class

9:03 AM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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ROCHESTER, Minn. - For doctors across the globe, working at the Mayo Clinic is a dream. But for some, the city where it's headquartered is not.

"I did my medical training in Washington, D.C.," said Ashley O'Reilly, a Mayo Clinic resident. "So moving here was a culture shock as a resident."

And not just for Mayo's staff. The famous Kahler hotel hosts guests from around the world, and some say the best thing about visiting Rochester is the daily shuttle to Bloomington.

"There is a big American mall there," said Ahmed Al Sharef, a Mayo Clinic patient from the United Arab Emirates.

Al Sharef and the 14 others in his group say Rochester has no ethnic food they like, and that businesses aren't open late enough.

"Everything is closed after eight," he said. "We don't know where to go."

But a plan announced today could change that. Mayo will invest 20 years and $3.5 billion in its hospital, clinic, labs and other sites. But it wants the state of Minnesota to help too, asking for $585 million to make Rochester better, with both infrastructure and private development like hotels, restaurants, shopping, arts and entertainment, plus new housing. In short, Mayo says it needs a world class city to attract--and keep--its world class staff and patients.

"Those from large metropolitan areas may feel that Rochester is too small to have the amenities they're used to," said Nan Sawyer, Mayo's chair of practice administration.

Rochester's population is 107,000, but this plan has the city and the clinic thinking big.

"it's a win win all the way around," Sawyer said.

Many Mayo employees say they like Rochester, saying its small size gives it a good sense of community and makes it a perfect place to raise a family. So they say these improvements would build on an already great foundation.


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