Visions of Rochester - Phil Wheeler - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Visions of Rochester - Phil Wheeler

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- For years, Rochester and Olmsted County leaders have been planning for growth in Rochester.

And with the state's approval of nearly 600 million-dollars for the DMC initiative, a lot more growth is going to come, and quickly.

This week, we're talking to some of the visionaries in our community, as we paint a picture of what Rochester might look like in twenty years.

In this installment, the spotlight shines on longtime Rochester-Olmsted Planning Director Phil Wheeler.

Wheeler has been part of the Rochester community since the mid 70's, and he's seen plenty of change in that time. How about this for a vision? To improve street congestion downtown, he sees street cars or fixed rail trains...even moving sidewalks. Wheeler says it'll cut traffic downtown, and avoid the need for more expensive parking ramps.

Wheeler also envisions the city becoming a larger employment source in the future which will require one other thing.

"We have more than 5,000 people commuting here from the Twin Cities. I anticipate we'll be building the transportation network to make that continue. High speed rail? Yes," Wheeler said.

Wheeler says Rochester is projected to grow by another 30-to-40,000 people in the coming years. The question is, is if Rochester is truly ready for such a population boom?

Get the answers-- including how several new apartment buildings and a new marketplace in downtown are signs that Rochester is heading in the right direction-- by checking out the full interview HERE.

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