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Dayton Signs Bonding Bill, Mayo Civic Center to Renovate

Created: 05/20/2014 6:52 PM KAALtv.com
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Governor Dayton signed the bonding bill into law Tuesday. It includes more than a billion dollars in projects across the state, some of which are in Southeast Minnesota.

People across the city have been trying to get this money for several years. But for them, the 8th time was the charm, and starting this fall, things are going to look quite different at the Mayo Civic Center.

"We had anticipated that the governor would sign it and he did. And so we have a convention center project. A lot of pride goes into this project," said Brad Jones, with the Rochester Convention and Visitors' Bureau.

The plans have been in place for years, but now they will start to take shape. The number one, biggest part of the project, a convention center, that's going to be the second largest in the state.

"It can be sub-divided in many different ways and then underneath it will be the breakout meeting space," said Jones.

The convention center will be the most noticeable change. But there will be a lot of smaller changes as well. For example, one of the main corridors the public uses, won't be seen anymore. It will be used for staff for behind-the-scene purposes.

"We have a long list of clients and folks that we're going to call and share this news and hopefully get them on the books for future years," said Jones.

The hope is that more conventions will bring more money, and a change to the city of Rochester.

"We know that this will anchor this side of downtown, we'll create a convention and entertainment district that connects to the downtown," said Jones.

Another part of that construction package, is going to be a sort of outdoor plaza near the river. They're hoping to tie that into the art center.

Photo: ABC 6 News