DMC Reality Check: What about the local guys? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

DMC Reality Check: What about the local guys?

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- There are two centers of power in Downtown Rochester, and they're partners in Destination Medical Center.

"I have great respect for the people at the Mayo Clinic, but they're not the ones that got elected," said Mayor Ardell Brede who also sits on the DMCC Board.

That was a big question in St. Paul -- at the end of the day, who should be in charge of the money?

"Legislators said, 'well wait a minute now, the people that control the money ought to be the city. It's public money. It's public, elected people,'" said Mayor Brede.

So the Rochester City Council is the last stop in the DMC process.

The EDA draws up the plans. The DMCC decides if any part of it qualifies for tax dollars. The City Council has to vote to hand the money over and get construction started.

"It's kind of business as usual, only on a bigger scale, and bigger projects -- bigger projects than we've ever seen before," said City Council Representative and DMCC Board Member Ed Hruska.

That's because any project that gets approved under DMC gets approved by the City Council the same way as another other project.

"Any plan promoted or projects promoted by the DMC would have to exist within the confines of the underlying criteria" said City Council President Randy Staver.

But just like they are now, rules can be changed. And that can be controversial.

"We just had that with the 5th on 5th situation," said Mayor Brede.

That's part of the reason city officials sit on the DMCC Board and will have at least one seat on the EDA Board. That way developers with big dreams know what kind of questions they might face before they get to the council chambers.

"Hopefully the rules are pretty well defined, not that it's a rubber stamp when it gets to the City Council because that's their job then to look at it too," said Mayor Brede.

"We have a job there to make sure that things are done right and move forward in a way that is best for the overall good of the community," said Hruska.

And just like always, the pipeline for DMC projects leaves one man at the end of it all.

"I can be at the point that I suppose I can always do is veto or not, but I just don't think it's going to happen," said Mayor Brede.

But all the power coming from the city side of the Government Center means a bigger price tag.

The city of Rochester is required to kick in $128 million for Destination Medical Center.

The county gets a lot less say in how everything happens, but it's on the line for a lot less money -- $40 million.

County officials really only have two major roles in the process. They need to support the city with Planning and Zoning -- like they already do.

And they need to work to put together a transit plan.

"Getting people to work and getting the patients to The Clinic, and all the support services to get those people into the core of Rochester, or wherever this growth happens, and then being able to get out to where they need to be to live, to recreate -- that type of thing," said County Board Chair and DMCC Board Member Jim Bier.

That can cover more than just roads and bridges -- it means bus routes, possibly high-speed zip rail, even airports. But it's likely to be years in the making.

"You can't just snap your fingers and have a transit plan," said Bier.

Everything that the EDA and DMCC are working to put together will have to be taken into consideration.

"It will probably be in conjunction with the development plan," Bier said. "I would think the development plan is the key. Is the number one goal."

So with the city and county as partners, the planning is underway.

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