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City of Duluth, city of Rochester

LIPP: Local Government

City of Duluth

Beginning on June 19, 2012, Duluth experienced its worst flood on record. In a two-day period, the city was hit with nine inches of rainfall, causing massive damage to homes and roads. When it was over, the infrastructure damage was estimated to be around $80 million, more than 250 people had been forced to evacuate their houses, and many of the animals from the zoo had drowned. Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency and authorized the National Guard to help with the damage. It was a tragedy that no one could have planned for, and it seemed it would take forever to put the city back together.

But the city of Duluth shined in its time of crisis. In the aftermath of the trauma, nearly every city employee came out to do his or her part, from emergency personnel to public works staff and city assessors. Though it will likely take years to fully repair the damage, Duluth has proved its extraordinary resiliency.

In June 2013, on the one-year anniversary of the flood, Duluth Mayor Don Ness released a video statement thanking residents and city employees for their efforts since the flood. Ness predicted 90 percent of the recovery would be complete by June 2014.

City of Rochester

The city of Rochester is about to undergo a facelift. This year, the Legislature paved the way for the biggest public works investment in the history of Minnesota: the Destination Medical Center. The ambitious plan will transform the downtown Rochester area around Mayo Clinic to make the research hospital competitive with other prestige medical institutions, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins.  The project will create tens of thousands of jobs, and will undoubtedly be a boon to the local economy.

Besides the victory it represented for Mayo Clinic, passing the Destination Medical Center was a big win for the city of Rochester. A major part of the plan will be to expand private businesses around Mayo, which will likely include building new hotels and lodging, entertainment venues, and retail attractions. There will also be a significant investment in transportation – potentially, new bus routes, a new transit station and new bridges – and public infrastructure such as improvements to streetscapes, skyways, bridges, and other public areas. Rochester – the third largest city in Minnesota, with over a quarter of a million visitors annually – along with Olmsted County, will also be investing $128 million in local taxes for the expansion.


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