Senator Smith announces grants during visit to Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) – U.S. Senator Tina Smith was in Rochester Friday touting the cities initiatives to lead the state when it comes to clean energy.

Senator Tina Smith visited the Rochester Art Center to announce a two-million-dollar federal grant to create a downtown district energy system.

“It’s a great example of how you can move towards clean energy and do it in a way that lowers cost for businesses and for people,” Senator Smith said.

The money would be used to connect city buildings and support solar and geothermal improvements to provide long-term efficiency, decrease operating costs, and generate environmental benefits.

Later, the senator stopped by the Zumbro Valley Health Center to discuss its expansion and update plans, which was recently awarded $676,000 in federal funding.

“I’m so impressed and so grateful with the work that you do here.”

The federal funding will be able create more group rooms and assist patients. Something that Ana Barnes with Zumbro Valley Health Center said is needed.

“The need in making sure that we’re addressing all of those pieces has just become higher, a lot higher,” Barnes said.

The funding for both projects came from a process called, “Congressionally Designated Spending.”

That’s when local leaders of Rochester share ideas with Senator Klobuchar and Senator Smith about what will work in the community, and they go all out to make it happen.

Senator Smith wrapped up her visit to Rochester by supporting small business, Popus Gourmet Popcorn in downtown Rochester.