Latest on possible Mayo Civic Center expansion - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Latest on possible Mayo Civic Center expansion

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Tuesday's meeting passed information to those concerned with the idea of renovating the Mayo Civic Center and adding a Convention Center. 

Backers understand the new addition to the facility wouldn't generate much revenue for the venue itself, but it would be more for the community.

Rochester City Council President Dennis Hanson, during the presentation, said the idea is somewhat similar to that of a Kwik Trip. "Our community is one big convenient store, and this is our gas pump."  Hanson explained how Kwik Trip stores do not earn much from selling gas, but rely more on the items inside the store.

The estimated cost of expanding of the Mayo Civic Center 77.1 million dollars.

"There are things you need to invest in to bring that kind of vitality and diversity that comes to a community," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.

The main goal of expansion is to be able to host "two events of about 11-hundred people simultaneously," said Executive Director of Communications and Visitor's Bureau Brad Jones.

The plan would call for a request of 35-million dollars in the 2012 state bonding funds for construction. And 95-percent of the overall budget would be spent on expanded facilities. "And so this money is re-spent several times within our community," said Jones

"It's bringing multiple dollars to the community that aren't necessarily shown on the balance sheet of the Mayo Civic Center," Mayor Brede explained.

Jones said theoretically it could support an infrastructure that already exists. "Our hospitality industry is the second largest industry in the city We employ about 12,000 workers, generating an annual economic impact of about $530-million," he said.

Not to mention more space.

"40,000 square foot ballroom which can also be subdivided and configured into smaller components as well," said the owner of TSG Steve Sorensen. "It will be the second largest ballroom in the state of Minnesota."

But not everyone is on the same page.

One woman in attendance had another alternative. "Sell it to the businessmen for a dollar. They take it as-is. And they do whatever they want to with it."

And others were in favor. "We commend the city for their approach to this process and that you are going forward with an operational review and you're looking at a lot of different things.," said another man. "That's really a smart thing to do. I don't know of another city in the state that is doing that same thing."

"I know it's an overworked phrase but to me it's a 'no brainer' to what we should get done," said Mayor Brede.

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