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Prominent Rochester residents question Mayo’s plan for massive state subsidy

A business owner and a county judge send letter to legislators, saying there are many unanswered questions in the Mayo proposal asking for $585 million in public funds for infrastructure, as part of a multi-billion dollar Mayo expansion.

The Mayo Clinic’s request for $585 million in state funding for infrastructure to help in a vast expansion of the health care facility in Rochester has faced some opposition in the Legislature, and now two prominent Rochester citizens are raising questions.

John Krusel, an antique shop owner, and District Court Judge Kevin Lund sent a four-page letter to key legislators, saying residents weren’t allowed to weigh in before it was presented in St. Paul, says the Rochester Post Bulletin.

Mayo’s plan: expand its Rochester operations with a $3.5 billion investment over 20 years, with an additional $2 billion in private money coming in, too. The plan is for the state to spend more than half a billion dollars over that time frame to upgrade infrastructure in the city, paid for by additional state income, sales, business and corporate taxes generated by the project.

Kruesel, owner of General Merchandise and Auction Co., and Judge Lund, aren’t satisfied that Mayo has sold Rochester citizens on the idea.

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Says their letter to the legislators:

“It is shocking that the Mayo Clinic and other private individuals have taken at least two years and millions of dollars to secretly develop this complex legislation and yet our community and the state Legislature are being asked to decide this massive initiative in essentially four months. This is not a decision to be made hastily.”

Kruesel told the paper: “The reason that we sent this letter out is there has been less than transparency in this discussion. We ask certain questions, they are directed to certain people, those questions either are left unanswered or wrong information is given or we heard ‘We’ll get back to you’ and that doesn’t happen.”

Mayo Clinic spokesman Bryan Anderson told the paper that there’s been lots of discussion in the community about the project, and that most people like the plan.

“Community engagement is important to us and we have worked with community leaders and community members from the outset of the project and will continue to moving forward,” he said.