Potential for transformation throughout the city will be the topic of a two-part Rochester City Council discussion starting Wednesday.

With Mayo Clinic planning a $5 billion investment with its “Bold. Forward.

Unbound. in Rochester” initiative, city staff will be asking the council for direction amid continuing change in the city.

“The city of Rochester is experiencing significant transformation,” Deputy City Administrator Cindy Stein hauser wrote in a council report ahead of Wednesday’s study session. “This transformation results from several factors, including our success in pursuing state and federal funding to support the City Council’s strategic priorities.”

Projects being supported largely by state and federal funding include the $143 million for the Link Rapid Transit project scheduled to begin service in 2026, $29.9 million for the creation of a Sixth Street Southeast Bridge over the Zumbro River and related improvements expected to be completed in 2026 or 2027 and $20 million in updates at Soldiers Field Memorial Park, which are slated to be completed by next summer.

City staff also continue to make plans for $205 million in voter-approved sales tax revenue expected to be collected between 2024 and 2039, funding work on a regional sports and recreation complex, as well as street maintenance, water quality and economic vitality efforts.

A separate council update on the sales-tax projects is planned for Jan. 29.

Changes seen with new development and related workforce needs are not new in Rochester.

Between 1980 and 2022, the city saw its population increase by 111%, its geographical size grow by 208% and the miles of streets climb by 255%.

During the same period, the city reports the number of full-time employees has risen by 17%.

Starting Wednesday, city staff plan to present the council with a review of the city’s current organization, planning efforts and resources with an eye toward future growth. A second session on the topic is slated for the council’s Feb. 12 study session, with a joint meeting of the council, Olmsted County Board and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency planned between the two sessions.

Steinhauser’s report to the council states the goal is to ensure resources needed to deliver projects can be secured and future service needs can be met.

The council discussion will fall a week after Rochester Mayor Kim Norton announced plans to form a steering committee and hire a consultant to develop a plan for added community engagement in creating a vision for the city into the next two to three decades.

As the council prepares to look toward needed resources and policy considerations, Norton highlighted the need for community involvement in developing long-term goals.

“I really think it is this community vision that is going to make a difference.

It’s not one person; it’s all of us working together,” she said during her State of the City address.

The council’s regular study session is being moved to Wednesday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

The study session will start at 3:30 p.m. in council chambers of the city-county Government Center.

Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Jan. 15 include:


• Fire Civil Service Commission, 3:15 p.m.

Tuesday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St.


• City Council study session at 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday in council chambers of the city county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/ meetings/council-meetings and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188.

• Library Board, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first floor meeting room of the Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St.


Olmsted County

• Physical Development Committee, 1 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 1 of the Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.

• Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 for the Government Center.

• Administrative Committee, 4 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 1 of the city-county Government Center.

• Board of County Commissioners, 6 p.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the Government Center. The meeting will include the board’s annual meeting at the Regional Railroad Authority.

• County Commissioner retreat, 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in room 302 at 2117 Campus Drive SE

Rochester Public Schools

• School Board study session, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.

Contact local government reporter Randy Petersen at rpetersen@postbulletin. com.