DMC hosts Riverfront Reimagined event

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(ABC 6 News) – The Zumbro River runs throughout Rochester, bridging our community together.

City leaders gathered Thursday night to celebrate the launch of a project that will bring the Zumbro River to life. It’s called Riverfront Reimagined.

The kickoff event was celebratory, with a light show on the river and people sharing their ideas about what they would like to see from this project.

"The water is so much a part of our community and that it really is all connected here and it really is the connected tissue that really weaves together the entire city," Patrick Seeb, executive director of Destination Medical Center said.

People came together to share ideas about what they would like to see from this project.

"I think just to have a dock like this and just have a spot to relax and take in the city would be really exciting," Rochester resident Zoey Jantsan said.

She’s talking about the CityDeck in Green Bay. But there are more photos of riverfronts from other cities that DMC and the city of Rochester are looking at to see what would make the perfect fit for the 2.5 acres of land.

And city leaders are ready to get this project started.

"No member of my wife’s family has ever told me one single thing about this river. That’s going to change. This is a memory village for the next generation and we want to start that now," R.T. Rybak, chair of Destination Medical Center said.

Rochester City Council President Brooke Carlson agrees, now is the time to start this project.

"Undoubtedly we will have bumps along the way, but knowing that we are working together in good faith will help smooth our journey ahead," Carlson said.

Moving forward, by next year, the City of Rochester and DMC want to have a plan on what they want to do and develop it.

"I see someone from Forager Brewery down there, I want to be sitting on a patio with one of your beers, overlooking this river, and seeing all sorts of housing down here, all sorts of different activity here, on what was once a parking lot. That is not a dream," Rybak said.

And as people gathered to watch the lights Thursday night, they looked forward with ideas and realize this project can achieve something they’ve always wanted to see.

"Are you ready to recommit to this vision? Are you willing to say we’ve come a long way, but are you willing to say you’ve ain’t seen nothing yet? I am willing to do that and I hope you are too," Rybak said.

Next week, the Rochester City Council will discuss the possibility of having a planning team that will lead a community-based planning effort to further get ideas on how they can make this Riverfront the best it can be.