Infrastructure Concerns Remain as DMC Project Looms

Posted at: 03/19/2013 6:58 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Rochester is Minnesota's fastest growing city. Now, if the proposed Destination Medical Center is approved, that growth will only continue.    

According to city officials, keeping up with all of that growth is going to be challenging, in particular Northwest Rochester. Development there has already taken off, and with Destination Medical Center, that is only going to continue.

Sherrie Porterfield's favorite part about working from home, is that she gets to enjoy the view.

"We have the deer in our backyard, and wild turkeys and such, and we really enjoy the woods also," said Porterfield.

She has lived in her Northwest Rochester home for more than ten years, and loves the country feel she gets while still living in the city.

"We have a close kind of bond with our neighbors." she said.

Porterfield could get a whole bunch of new neighbors, as the Destination Medical Center plans move forward, and the city of Rochester gets even bigger.

"Rochester has grown from 70,745 in 1990 to 106-some thousand in 2010.

That's not without challenges. Just looking around Northwest Rochester you can see new houses being built where fields used to sit just a few years ago. And the city has to keep up with the infrastructure.

"The infrastructure challenge is paying for the infrastructure the growth brings with it. Growth has a heavy initial capital demand, but eventually it also has to be maintained. And Maintaining an ever-enlarging system of roads, sewers, storm sewers and so on eventually catches up to people," said Rochester City Planner Phil Wheeler.

Builders who have to use that land say everything will work out just fine.

"It will be a challenge because with the credit crunch being a little tighter right now, it isn't going to be quite as easy as it has been in the past but if the market is there, that wants housing, we'll find a way to get it built," said Mike Paradise, with Bigelow Homes.

Which will bring more neighbors to Sherrie and her cardinals.

"We're ok with it. It's going grow, and we're glad it's going grow," said Porterfield.  

As we've reported, Mayo is asking the state to help pay for those infrastructure costs, about $600 million worth. Mayo says it will be needed if the $6 billion DMC project gets the green light.