ROCHESTER, Minn.-As Rochester wakes up from its winter slumber the heart of the city beats stronger and stronger.
“You can just feel the pulse of this community growing and changing,” Lisa Clarke, executive director of the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, said.
Clarke plays a big role in reshaping the city. As the face of the multi-billion dollar public-private project she's tasked with bringing to life the Destination Medical Center project. With Mayo Clinic at its core the plan hopes to attract more than $5 billion in private investment to Rochester and create up to 45,000 new jobs.
“We want to attract the best and the brightest from all over the world and they are looking for different things right now than we've had for the last 150 years,” Clarke said.
To attract the best and brightest, the Destination Medical Center project, DMC for short, is turning downtown Rochester into what they hope will become innovation central. The plan will create six sub districts all showcasing the city and its goals in different ways.
There are already new shops and restaurants popping up. Down the street there's a new grocery store and apartments being built.
The Conley-Maass Theater is being renovated into an incubator for entrepreneurs. All of this, creating a boom the city has never seen before.
“We have to prepare for roughly 50,000 new jobs and 50,000 new residents,” Mitzi Baker, planning director for the city and county said.
“That takes thinking a bit about where we have sanitary sewer capacity, where our streets have capacity, where we can accommodate new growth and developments,” she said.
While it will take extensive planning Baker said it's a good problem to have. If there isn't a crane in the air Clarke said there is planning behind it, paving the way to a new Rochester.
“Progress is everywhere and it's very evident,” Clarke said.