DMC Reality Check: We do it all for the Mayo - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

DMC Reality Check: We do it all for the Mayo

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's not just Rochester that's changing.

"The healthcare industry is going under tremendous changes right now with all the new laws, the Affordable Care Act," said Jim Bier, the Olmsted County Board Chair and DMCC Board member. "There are a lot of unknowns that are going to happen."

It's healthcare.

"The big picture is to look at what we can do to make this a destination city, and the best medical facility in the world," said Rochester City Council representative and DMCC Board member Ed Hruska.

That's the point of this legislation. Spelled out clearly right in the definitions of the law.

A "public infrastructure project" is defined as "a project financed in part or in whole with public money in order to support the medical business entity's development plans."

That sounds simple enough.

Here's what it means.

As defined -- any project that gets state, city or county money as part of DMC must support Mayo Clinic's growth.

"Essentially when we talk about support of Mayo Clinic, that can really take on a lot of flavors if you will," said Rochester City Council President Randy Staver.

The legislation does lay out seven areas of development as a destination medical center: commercial research and technology, learning environment, hospitality and convention, sports and recreation, livable communities, retail, dining and entertainment and health and wellness.

"That could very well include entertainment and social events," Staver said. "Things that take the total individual in mind. So it still pretty much supports the mission of Mayo Clinic in terms of the health and well being of all the patients and visitors we have in Rochester."

But right now, we don't really know what that means, exactly.

The DMCC will make the decisions on what gets state funding.

The city will get final approval on dishing out the dollars.

Both are subject to open meeting laws.

Both will hold public hearings.

And both are likely the ones to interpret just what all this means.

"Olmsted County and the city of Rochester have supported them in building roads, bridges, water, sewer, schools -- that type of activity," said Bier. "So this is just a natural extension of that."

Some of those representatives say we may already know.

"We've done this in the past with Mayo," said Hruska. "I think now there's maybe just a little more focus on it because of the size of this now."

The state, county, and city are all signed on to making DMC a reality.

But what about the fourth partner, the one essentially in the driver's seat.

We simply don't know what direction this is taking until The Clinic makes its first move.

So what responsibility does Mayo Clinic have?

"$200 million is the threshold," said Staver

That's 200 million dollars not just given, but spent by either The Clinic or other private developers.

"Before the state of Minnesota starts to kick their share of the 585 million," said Staver

"What that does is really proves that we're going to make this happen in Rochester, and until we show some of that proof, the dollars won't flow," said Mayo Clinic's DMC Administrator Lisa Clarke.

The Clinic also has a responsibility or role in two other bodies.

It has one vote on the DMCC and is required by law to establish the EDA.

With the EDA, it has to hold up the other end of the bargain -- bringing in the billions of outside investment.

"Mayo Clinic is also going to be a very large driver of private investment to the state of Minnesota and to Rochester," said Clarke.

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