Letter: DMC will have regional impactsPublished 9:45am Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Over the past 25 years, Rochester has evolved into a regional economic and cultural center, whose impact goes well beyond its city borders. Every day workers from surrounding communities commute to Rochester for employment. They in turn shop for goods and services that are not often provided in their smaller home towns. And they are as likely as not to receive medical services through clinics already connected to a Rochester medical organization.
So, will the Destination Medical Center have an impact on these surrounding communities? Absolutely! Will DMC planning and implementation be conducted in a regional context? It doesn’t look that way!
Rochester has played a dominant role in the life of our region for more than a quarter century. And during this time many citizens and leaders from southeast Minnesota have called for a more broad-based approach to growth and development within our region. These calls have, in many ways, gone unanswered. My fear is that this is happening again with DMC.
DMC is a unique and groundbreaking undertaking that will have an enormous social, economic, and ecological impact on the many townships, counties, and communities surrounding Rochester. Some of the impacts which would merit regional discussion, deliberation, and planning are: population and employment trends, physical and social infrastructure, lifestyle and culture, and natural resources and the environment – to name a few. As the reader can easily see, the DMC is a multi-layered and multi-faceted endeavor. It is not simply about economic development.
My challenge to the leadership of the DMC is to do the right thing, the practical, commonsense thing: think and plan regionally for the long-term. Be comprehensive and work rigorously for the common good of all the communities that will contribute to the ultimate success of the DMC; a success that may truly make the DMC a future beacon on the hill of a preventive and holistic health care society. Because the plans you put in place today will have an enormous impact on Southeast Minnesota in the years to come.