- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - The poor and homeless in downtown Rochester could be displaced under a 20-year redevelopment plan aiming to transform the area surrounding the Mayo Clinic.

Mayor Ardell Brede acknowledges that it’ll be a challenge to keep groups that serve that population like the Salvation Army when developers are willing to pay top dollar for the downtown properties they’re on, MPR News (http://bit.ly/1G6POu9 ) reported.

Brede sits on the board of the Destination Medical Center Corp., the entity planning the redevelopment projects. The board recently adopted a plan to help guide downtown development, and Brede said they have talked about what effect it’ll have on social service programs. But he said that those discussions are still in the early stages.

The guide calls for areas where the Salvation Army is located to be redeveloped in the future for use as residential housing and parking.

Community engagement director Dave Ferber for the Salvation Army said the organization gets at least one phone call a month from a developer interested in buying its properties.

“A lot of people are saying we’re sitting on that gold mine,” he said.

The other challenge the organization faces is finding the right place to uproot to in Rochester if it chooses to move, Ferber said. The Salvation Army currently serves around 8,500 people a year in the city, providing shelter food and health care services, with many living in the downtown area.

“You know, I’ve told people it’s a bright shiny thing they’re building that will attract a lot of people and not everyone will share … in that success,” Ferber said. “So we just have to prepare for that.”

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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