Saying it needs to act before more parking lots go up in the city’s core neighborhoods, the Rochester City Council has asked city staff to draft a moratorium. It could be passed next month, said City Council Member Michael Wojcik.

“These essentially are neighborhood streets and we want to keep them neighborhood friendly,” he said.

Rochester has seen strong growth in recent years, and city officials are predicting even more with the Mayo Clinic expansion that’s underway. Known as Destination Medical Center, the plan calls for a multibillion-dollar private and public investment in the city to retain its place as a global hub for medicine, research and health care. Projections for the city, population of about 111,000, say it will grow sharply. The need for parking is already acute, said Wojcik, and is being addressed as part of the city’s planning efforts for the DMC.

The city will rely on more public transit, biking and walking in the future to help with the transportation crush, said Wojcik.

“There is probably no poorer land use in an urban center than surface parking lots,” he said.

Matt McKinney


Part of Prairie Island Park could become dog area

After years of advocating by dog owners, this picturesque city on the Mississippi River could soon be getting its first designated dog park.

The Winona City Council voted to make an off-leash dog park out of about 4.5 acres of the city’s Prairie Island Park. But there’s a catch: The city and advocates will need to raise about $50,000 to build fences around it and add portable restrooms, benches, signs, waste containers and other amenities.

Maynard Johnson, park and recreation director, said the nonresidential area, which sits near a deer park and has little traffic, is a good spot to let dogs get some exercise. There is no timetable for the park, he said: “When we can raise that $50,000, then we’ll start on the project.”

Pam Louwagie

St. Cloud

State summit to focus on invasive species

For the second year, local and state conservation leaders, scientists, boaters, marina owners, tourism leaders and others concerned about zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species in Minnesota are gathering at a state summit.

The fall event will help local leaders learn from one another and see what other states are doing to slow the spread of invasive species.

More than 400 people are expected to attend. The summit, co-hosted by St. Paul-based Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates, includes planned remarks from Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Registration is open for the Oct. 5-6 summit, which will be held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud and is co-hosted by the Initiative Foundation. Register at

Kelly Smith