Lawmakers Back ‘Destination Medical Center’

Posted at: 02/07/2013 9:41 PM
Updated at: 02/07/2013 10:13 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A week after Mayo Clinic announced its expansion plan up at the state capitol, southeast Minnesota lawmakers introduce bills to help make it happen.

It's a multi-billion dollar proposal that could bring thousands of jobs to southeast Minnesota, Destination Medical Center.

Governor Dayton praised the plan in his State of the State Address and now lawmakers are introducing legislation so it can actually happen. It's a project that so far has bipartisan support.

Rochester Senator Dave Senjem introduced legislation in the Senate, and Representative Kim Norton in the House. Besides those two chief authors, a number of other area lawmakers have signed on as well.

"I'd like to thank Senator Senjem, Representative Norton, for the support that they've given us," said Lisa Clarke, administrator of Destination Medical Center. It was a key move to help make Mayo's Destination Medical Center move forward. An expansion plan worth $6 billion dollars.

"With our great support we feel very confident that this can move throughout that process," said Clarke. Neither of the House nor Senate bills introduced Thursday give specifics of on what will be done to the clinic or the city of Rochester. However, they do lay out how decisions will be made. First by forming an authority.

"There will be representatives from the city of Rochester, Olmsted County, the governor’s office, and others and that's a public body," said President of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, John Wade.

The majority of the funding will come from Mayo and the private sector, but roughly $600 million is being asked for in public money. Which is why the process needs to be a group effort. "All of that is overseeing and transparent, so people know where those dollars are going, how those dollars are going to be used, what those plans are…" said Wade.

So as the legislation moves on in St. Paul, those behind the project in Rochester remain optimistic and eager to get started. "Start to look at programs, products, services, experiences, for our patients, for the visitors, for the community members to really create this Destination Medical Center,” said Clarke.

If this expansion plan is approved and moves forward, Mayo says it could bring roughly 30,000 new jobs and generate approximately $3 billion in new tax revenue. We'll keep you posted as the legislation moves forward.