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DMC brainstorms new ideas for downtown Rochester at annual meeting

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) — At Thursday’s DMC meeting, the development initiative looked to the community to help answer what new projects could take hold for the future.

“We invite the community down to think about the progress we’ve made as a community, but really what’s coming next,” said Patrick Seeb, DMC’s executive director of economic development. “There’s an opportunity for the community to help set the vision and set the policy, set the city policy and direction.”

“This is just a precursor to what’s to come, and hopefully, we’ll get a lot of involvement and a lot of ideas of what we want this to turn into,” said Josh Johnsen, Rochester’s interim community development manager.

Seeb says DMC chose this spot in downtown Rochester for the meeting due to its location on the Zumbro River, which is viewed as an important spot for the community.

“My sense of what communities really want is access to the river,” said Seeb. “And this river really connects every neighborhood in Rochester.”

Also on display at the meeting was a lego display of the Whitewater Watershed. The project echoes Seeb’s point about the Zumbro River, that everything is connected.

“We in a watershed are connected to that water within a watershed. And, that has application to this even there today, which is trying to connect the city of Rochester to the Zumbro River,” said Dr. Dylan Blumentritt, a geoscience professor at Winona State University.

Another stand was on the Riverfront itself, a depiction of Olmsted County’s history.

“The mural is a depiction of how Rochester slash Olmsted County actually got started especially with the river. Because the river played such an important part, especially with early settlers,” said Dan Nowakowski, a curator and educator at the Olmsted County History Center.

There were also displays of potential changes to public transportation, such as busses. “Link,” a new bus project proposed for the city, was displaying a mock setup for one of its bus stops.

“This will be a fast, frequent service,” said Jarrett Hubbard, the project manager. “A person will come to the bus station, and the bus will come every five minutes in the peak, and every 10-15 minutes in the off peak. No need for a schedule, and it will only take 15 minutes to get from one end of the route to the other.”

Noah Caplan

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