Thursday, June 12, was a night of innovation and creativity.
Community members filed onto the third floor of the University of Minnesota Rochester lobby around 4:30 p.m., waiting for the event to begin at 5:15 p.m. With cookies, coffee, and delicious ginger lemonade in hand, people mingled and discussed what they expected to experience during the next three-and-a-half hours. With a positive vibe floating throughout the conversations, attendees were ready to sign in and get started.
Assigned rooms filled as the event began. The first session included the topics: Sports, Recreation and Nature, Hospitality and Conventions, and Learning Environment, with the “Livable City” core area of focus garnering the most attendees (about 60 people). Comprehensive questions were developed for each group to discuss, and there was a great collaboration among the attendees and facilitators in each room. Community members were eager to voice their ideas and opinions, while DMC planners and facilitators thoughtfully listened.
Nate Nordstrom, founder of BrandHoot, a Web-services company, stated, “I was impressed by the openness of the discussions and how many valuable topics our group covered. I feel like we all came away with a better sense of, ‘We are in this together.’”
The second session included the topics: Transportation, Arts/Culture/Entertainment, Health and Wellness, and Commercial Research and Technology. This portion of the night was as rich in dialogue and interaction as the previous session, making for a successful event. As attendees emptied the rooms, people were buzzing with enthusiasm about their ideas now accessible for DMC planners to consider. “Lots of energy, excitement, and surprisingly similar ideas for a better Med City . . . ,” chimed Kelly Corbin on DMC Twitter.
Throughout the evening, a “tweet chat” was also taking place. Community members could tweet their ideas on Twitter using the hashtag #DMCIdeas. Posted ideas included, “Nice hotel gym, close to local coffee shops, veg-friendly restaurants,” and “A proper concert hall.” Even though these individuals were not participating in person, their ideas were valued and collected to share with the planners as well. Technology helped to give everyone a voice.
The Community Conversations event was a wonderful evening with great support from members of Rochester and surrounding areas. This was one more step in the DMC process that helps to shape and encourage great things to happen in the future. A big “thank you” to all who participated! Keep an eye out for future community events because without your help, support, and ideas, DMC would not be possible.
Watch for a future post on the DMC blog regarding more detailed information that was gathered at this event.