ROCHESTER, Minn - Rochester City Council made the vote Monday evening on two major Med City projects.
The council approved the Downtown Waterfront Plan SE Small Area Plan into the Planning 2 Succeed Comprehensive Plan as a level 3 sub-area/district plan. It's a next step in guiding developers as the city creates a road map for a new downtown neighborhood.
The goal is to implement businesses, green spaces, public spaces, and housing in the area of the former KMart and AMPI lots.
Kelly Dunagan, a representative on behalf of the Sunnyside Neighborhood spoke during the meeting, expressing strong favor for the project, but with some hesitations about traffic she and her neighbors hope will be addressed.
"The increased traffic will impact the safety of our children. Our streets are narrow and there are no sidewalks on 1st Ave. south of 9 and a half St. Even though we realize this may be a future problem, an acceptable solution has not been determined. Overall, we are excited and enthusiastically support the plan," she says.
Project developers insist these conceptual plans are flexible. City council members expressed a combination of positivity and concern to this fluidity. They don't want neighbors to be misled is plans end up changing into something they're not on board with.
The city council also approved backing a forgivable loan to a Rochester-based manufacturer in order to them here in the city, therefore retaining jobs in Rochester.
Crenlo Cab Products has been considering moving its operations out of Minnesota, possibly to Iowa or North Carolina. To keep the company in the state, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is giving a forgivable $450K loan to the company. Tonight, on Raedi and the City of Rochester Adminstration's recommendation, the council approved providing an additional $300K forgivable loan.
In return, Crenlo will complete a more than $4 million building renovation, maintain at least 336 jobs, and create at least 12 new jobs in Rochester for a minimum of five years.
"We believe it is strong but not too strong, and yet will secure many fine paying jobs for years to come," commented John Wade, interim president of RAEDI.
Both of these council decisions were made unanimously.