$5M downtown Rochester construction project nearly underway

The project will impact downtown parking and some go-to spots like the Rochester Public Library.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 7:42 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 1:44 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - A $5 million project is getting ready to start May 1st.

The project, which upgrades the sewer system to support future DMC development along the Zumbro River, is closing 1st Ave SE and reducing part of 2nd St SE down to one lane.

It’s also temporarily blocking meter spots on those streets and closing the Civic Center parking ramp which holds about 642 spots.

Karen Lemke commutes downtown every day for her work at the Rochester Public Library and said she uses the Civic Center ramp daily. She plans to adjust and use the new parking lot that recently opened on West Center Street.

“We have to keep in mind there is this brand-new ramp that has opened so it can replace the void of not having the Civic Center ramp. So, people do need to remember that there is absolutely not parking downtown, it's moved ever so slightly,” she said.

The construction not only impacts parking for Lemke, but also her workplace.

“We were concerned. And as we continue to move forward with this process and get more information and talk a lot to Public Works, we've had a lot of our questions answered and we feel a lot better than we did initially,” she said.

One of the biggest concerns was the closing of the Civic Center ramp since that is where they park the Bookmobile. Luckily, it is able to be parked in another lot during the month of construction.

“We’re very grateful to SELCO, which is the Southeast Library Cooperating, because they are providing us the garage space,” Lemke said.

Another impact? The road with the book drop-off, 1st Ave SE, will be completely closed. To adjust, the book drop off will temporarily move around the corner to 1st St SE.

To learn more about how the library will operate during the construction project click here.

To learn more about the project itself, click here

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