Rochester town hall focuses on Mayo Clinic expansion plan

Mayo Clinic's proposed expansion plan in Rochester drew more than 200 people to a town hall meeting Wednesday evening.

The hour-long forum focused on what Rochester needs to do to retain Mayo Clinic and improve infrastructure over the next 20 years. Mayo Clinic's proposal is still making its way through the state Legislature.

Panelists included the bill's sponsors, DFL Rep. Kim Norton and Republican Sen. Dave Senjem, as well as Mayo Clinic representatives and city officials.

Olmsted County District Court Judge Kevin Lund said the Rochester community has not had enough time to assess details of the complex legislation. Lund also was concerned about how local officials will keep up with growth at the city and county level.

" Are we going to be able to fund schools, police, fire, the court system, social services, mental health facilities -- all of these critical component parts of the community that have not been thus far part of the discussion, nor as far as I can tell, part of the projection," Lund asked.

Olmsted County Commission Chair Jim Bier said he supports Mayo's plan and believes Rochester and Olmsted County are capable of handing the projected population growth.

"We can handle the growth. This is a fantastic opportunity we have here," Bier said. "I'm sorry I'm getting a little emotional, but we can provide jobs for people, my kids and your kids. We will have some bumps. But the clinic has been here; they've been a pretty good darn employer."

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