Mayo Civic Center Expansion, Bonding Projects Won’t Happen

Posted at: 05/17/2013 10:24 PM
Updated at: 05/17/2013 10:32 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- The $800 million bonding bill has failed in the Minnesota House, meaning some projects in our area won't likely happen this time around. Projects like the Mayo Civic Center expansion. This was the 7th year the project was in the legislature.

It seems to keep getting put on the back burner even though several lawmakers and even the governor have said they are all for it. We've been following the project from the very first proposal.

It was first pitched in 2007, then a year went by. "It is a very competitive game and we really need to rely on our legislators," said Brad Jones with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, back in 2008.

Fast forward two more years, "I recognize the value of the Rochester Civic Center, I've toured it," said former Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2010.

Now three years later... "We gave it our best shot, again," said Mayo Civic Center Executive Director Donna Drews.

The Mayo Civic Center expansion won't get the $37 million from the state that they were asking for. "Five votes short in the House and I think we could have passed the Senate this year and the governor was on our side," said Jones. This late in the game, it's highly unlikely the bill will reach Governor Dayton's desk.

"We had some indications that it was going to be tough," said Drews.

Jones says this means another year of missed opportunities. "I think people don't understand that over the last 5 years we've said no to more than $80 million worth of business," said Jones.

He says, that number is only going to climb the longer this gets brushed aside. "Those are real dollars, real proposals that we've lost and as that continues to escalate, it will probably close to $100 million by next year," said Jones.

Although, they say they are going to keep pushing for state funding. "It will continue to be a challenge mainly because there's so many things that need to be done that are delayed now," said Drews.

Those we spoke with said there is a silver lining, DMC. They've been behind it from the get-go and say now that an agreement has been made and the project looks to be moving forward, it can only be good for the Mayo Civic Center.