ROCHESTER, Minn. - In addition to rejecting a proposal to create a new local landmark, Med City leaders made a string of significant decisions Monday evening.
$10 million worth of Discovery Walk contracts approved
It's finally official: work on a major upgrade for a key stretch of Downtown Rochester will get underway next spring.
The Rochester City Council signed off on $10 million worth of contracts related to the highly-anticipated Discovery Walk project. Local leaders say Discovery Walk will transform four blocks of 2nd Ave SW into a linear parkway full of amenities and gathering spots.
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton says adjacent business owners have expressed excitement about the project during regular meetings with planners.
"Many of the businesses are really looking forward to what this will do activating the community in that area. and I think it will really help us develop that area even better," Mayor Norton said.
Two council members voted against approving the contracts, citing concerns about excessive spending and project details.
Construction on Discovery Walk is expected to cost more than $18.6 million in total, wrapping up by fall of 2023.
New Collective Bargaining Agreement for City Staff
City council members have approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the Rochester Supervisory Association.
The deal includes a 2.75% general wage increase for city employees next year, as well as a 2% adjustment for both 2023 and 2024. The city's HR department says the new CBA will also come with a "slight medical plan premium increase for employees, an adjustment in the merit pay range, and a $25 increase in the safety shoe reimbursement."
Other changes are considered to be minor and scope according to city council documents.
- An agreement between The City of Rochester and Rochester Public Schools to build a pedestrian underpass at the district's new Dakota Middle School is set to move forward. City council documents say staff from both entities agree a pedestrian underpass will benefit the district and public. RPS has agreed to contribute $171,242 to build the underpass.
- Council members formally hired a new city attorney Monday, who is already a familiar face in the Med City. Michael Spindler-Krage has been serving as Interim City Attorney since his predecessor, Jason Loos, left the job in June. City staff say Spindler-Krage has "a long employment history working in the City Attorney's Office, understands the dynamic needs of the Rochester community, and is well-positioned to assume this new role."