What is Destination Medical Center? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

What is Destination Medical Center?

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Mayo Clinic announced a plan Wednesday that could change the face of Rochester. The plan is called Destination Medical Center but what does that mean?

It goes beyond the walls of Mayo Clinic and into the streets of the city.  It may be difficult to pin down what this $5 billion plan could mean for the city of Rochester.  The hope is it will create thousands of jobs and bring in new customers. But the ultimate goal would be to shape Rochester in a way that no one would want to leave.

The Mayo Clinic proposed one of the largest plans in its history, to turn the clinic into a Destination Medical Center.

"Mayo is going to invest," said Dr. Brad Narr of Mayo Clinic following Wednesday's announcement. "We have to invest to stay at the cutting edge to be where we need to be in medicine."

The belief is, that if Mayo Clinic wants to remain the best, it will need the state and city on its side.

"How is the city going to keep up with us as we grow through a phase where we really want to make it attractive as a medical destination? That's less clear because we don't control it," Narr said.

The clinic is asking for $30 million dollars a year from taxpayers, after its plan is proving successful. But the plan needs to be approved before taking off and landing in the destination city of Rochester.

So what makes a destination city?

"It could be more housing in the downtown area. It could be more arts, education, culture. It could be more research buildings," said DMC Initiative Administrator Lisa Clarke.

Rochester's $20 million half cent sales tax increase contributes to part of the DMC's studies.

"So now we actually have real information, and we are going to the community and Mayo Clinic together to figure out how to transform this community," said Clarke.

"If you could imagine adding several million more visitors over the next 20 years, that's the opportunity that we're talking about," said Rochester Downtown Alliance's Jon Eckhoff.

Eckhoff said the city's effort will be critical to Mayo's success in Rochester.

"But we need to make sure that we have the infrastructure to support the events, the programming, the arts, the bands, the restaurants, the bars..."

"And now what we'll do is build out the specifics on what it takes to be a destination city," Clarke said.

With the plan in action, Mayo Clinic expects it could create up to 45,000 jobs and roughly 2,000 construction jobs per year over the next two decades.  The bill will be part of this legislative session.

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