Rochester City Council approves sales tax money for UMR projects - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester City Council approves sales tax money for UMR projects

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The University of Minnesota Rochester is moving forward with plans to expand into the south end of downtown Rochester.

At Monday's meeting, the City Council approved the use of sales tax money for some of those expansion plans -- some of which will make a visible impact on downtown as early as this spring.

The City Council approved the release of nearly $2.3 million in sales tax money for three UMR expansion projects.

The largest is the purchase of three properties owned by the city, the former KTTC property, Sands Development and Stillman building for more than $1.3 million.

Right now the university has no plans to change the site.

This purchase will give UMR control over 71 percent of its future campus.

The university also plans to demolish the Durst building on the 700 block of 1st Ave SW.

That would be complete this June, and the university will replace the site with grass.

A third site along the 600 and 700 blocks of South Broadway will be turned into a park location with a sign designating it as the future site of a UMR campus.

The university does plan to build there, but there is not yet a concrete timeline.

"The timing is uncertain," said Jay Hesley, the UMR Assistant Vice Chancellor. "That's one of the things that we're doing right now is master campus planning to try and give us an idea of what the timing would be relative to the development of a future campus in that space. The sign is really more just to begin to identify that this is where we intend to put our roots down."

The sales tax money for these projects had already been identified as going toward UMR expansion.

UMR will front the costs for the projects and submit expenses to the city for reimbursement.

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