Gov. Mark Dayton has named four appointees to the board that will oversee the largest economic development project in state history.
Minnesota taxpayers are contributing $455 million to the Destination Medical Center Project -- the Mayo Clinic's $5.6 billion plan to transform downtown Rochester as it expands and upgrades its own campus. An eight-member board will oversee the state dollars flowing into the project.
Dayton's announced his picks for the board Tuesday: James Campbell, retired group executive vice president of Wells Fargo & Co.; Dayton's chief of staff, Tina Flint Smith, who worked with Mayo to pitch the project to skeptical lawmakers last session; Susan Rani, president and founder of Rani Engineering; and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Campbell and Smith will serve six-year terms, Rani and Rybak will serve four-year terms. All will have to be confirmed by the Minnesota Senate.
Mayo has named its own representative to the board: Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic and a Mayo trustee. The eight-member board also includes Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, Rochester City Council member Ed Hruska and a member to be selected by the Olmstead County Board.
The Legislature signed off on the Mayo funding in May, with the understanding that state funds would be used for infrastructure improvements to support the overall project. Mayo pitched the Destination Medical Center as the only way for it to stay competitive with other world-class treatment centers like the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins.
Mayo has pledged to put $3.5 billion into the project and to leverage some $2 billion in private investment to bring new restaurants, hotels and amenities to town and transform Rochester into a destination in its own right. Rochester and Olmsted County are putting in another $128 million. Clinic officials said they were having trouble recruiting and retaining the best talent to Minnesota without the civic and cultural amenities that Cleveland and Baltimore could offer.
Mayo is the largest private employer in Minnesota. When lawmakers were debating the funding, clinic officials warned that without state buy-in to the project, Mayo might have to shift its future investments to its campuses in Florida and Arizona.