Rochester's Mayo Civic Center project failed to crack the top ten ranked projects for a $47.5 million business development grant.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development post its rankings for the 90 projects that applied for the grant. The civic center ranked 11th with an overall score of 72. It is still up to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to decide which projects get funded. The city of Rochester wants $25 million to expand the Mayo Civic Center to add convention space.
Claiming the number one spot in the rankings is a $2.5 million wastewater infrastructure project in Litchfield with a score of 99. The Mayo Civic Center project ranked sixth among southern Minnesota projects. The St. Paul Saints stadium ranked number one among metro proposals with a score of 77. The top project in northern Minnesota is a $10 million downtown development and parking ramp project in Duluth.
Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brad Jones said he is holding out hope that the governor will recognize the value of the civic center project despite its low ranking.
"It is kind of a slap in the face to think that a parking garage in Duluth would create what our project would create," Jones said.
He said the civic center expansion is expected to generate an additional $12 million per year in revenue to the state.
"I'm telling you there is not a project that can come close to us," he said. " And if it goes sideways, it's all politics."Several other regional projects were determined to be ineligible for the grant dollars based on the criteria. That included a nearly $7.1 million request to renovate the Chatfield Center for the Arts, a $2.3 million incubator building/business park in Kasson, $2.6 million to build a new fire station in Red Wing, $7.5 million for a new school in Rushford and $550,000 for a new fire hall in Stewartville. To see the DEED rankings, go here.