• 24May

    Here is the latest information on how I and the city plan to review proposals for the reuse of the armory. I would give a tip of the hat to Nick Campion who started us out on the right foot. He made some good suggestions and I switched how I plan to review these the proposals. In addition Annalissa Johnson & Mark Bilderback (thus a majority of the council) also agreed.

     photo Position on Rochester Armory Proposals_zps5n0olvok.jpg

    The city council will review the 5 proposals at a committee of the whole meeting on June 5th. Due to the heightened interest in the community we will be moving the meeting to a larger venue. For now the 5 proposals are private, but as I receive permission I intend to share those 5 proposals here. I will add links as I get public data.

    Contrary to the case with other decisions, in this case the Council may make their decision by whatever criteria they so choose. We are also free to talk about our thoughts and opinions at any time. In short, we are not in a “Quasi-Judicial” role.

    I would say 3-4 of the proposals were very good. Previously I supported the ACI proposal and again they made a strong proposal.

    I am also interested in your input, please send me questions you think we should ask at the COW meeting. I am going to publish a list here so no one gets to surprised. I have a strong preference in maintaining public ownership of both the Armory and the parking lots. I could see eventually selling the lots, but only after planning is firmed up in the area.

    Some questions I may ask:

    1. Under your proposal would the Armory remain publicly owned? (this is disclosed)
    2. Does your proposal require the inclusion of the parking lots?
    3. If the parking lots are a currently required; would you still pursue the project if those lots remain publicly owned?
    4. If your proposal calls for private ownership of the Armory, would you consider proceeding with a long term lease instead?
    5. If a long term lease would work, what length and terms would you consider?
    6. What do you see as the typical usage and demographics in a given week?
    7. How will your project benefit minority / low income / immigrant communities?
    8. Your question here


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  • 20Mar

    I ran for office and was elected by the people of Rochester on a platform of “#integrity” in city governance. Chief among by belief in leadership with integrity is a focus on stewardship of taxpayer dollars and transparency in government.

    The City of Rochester funded the Public Art Master Plan with taxpayer dollars after a rushed discussion where the city, collaborative artists, and taxpayers were provided assurances that the process would be executed with transparency and collaboration in mind.

    The community later went through a period of almost a year where no updates were provided and no engagement with arts or civic leaders outside of the GRACT took place. As a steward of public dollars and trust; I embarked on a venture to obtain and distribute the latest draft of the Public Arts Master Plan.

    I have now successfully acquired this document and it has been ruled public data by the City Attorney and the State of Minnesota Commissioner of Administration Information and Policy Analysis Division. A complete copy of this document can be found here. I encourage all interested parties to review this document and provide feedback prior to city council discussion on the matter.

    I strongly believe that documents produced with public funding by groups that are supported with public tax dollars or in kind donations should always be public data. I will continue to shine light on organizations or individuals who seek to take taxpayer subsidies.


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  • 17Nov

    Some thoughts:

    • The Chateau Theater will be preserved for generations to come.
    • Rochester is lucky to have Steve Schmidt. He gets this.
    • We just don’t have this kind of money available. We will need to partner with private developments.
    • The future of arts is strong in Rochester with Chateau, Library, RACC, Art Center, Civic Theater, private organizations, etc.
    • My stretch goal still remains a world class performing arts center on the River downtown.
    • The RCVB should not get public dollars or parkland for a new hockey stadium. If Taylor Arena is truly out of date, we tear it down and enjoy more green space.

    Here are the documents staff sent out:

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  • 14Sep

    Here is some good news for fellow supporters of the Arts in Rochester. The City Administrator has come out in support of the ACI proposal! I remain strongly supportive of the ACI proposal from both an arts & inclusivity perspective.

    Here is the memo.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Brede, Ardell
    Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 12:18 PM
    To: Kvenvold, Steve <skvenvold@rochestermn.gov>
    Subject: RE: Armory Reuse Matters

    Steve; as you know even before you sent the attached email to Council I had expressed some thoughts.
    While I agree getting an appraisal of the Armory was wise and appropriate I have never thought we should actually put it up for sale. I would not support that.
    Initially, I thought the proposal from the Collaborative lacked depth and am not sure what the “cultural” component entails.
    I personally would like to Armory contain the focus on the Arts. I would expect the proposers would have to tighten up their proposal and the City would need to define out financial role. I believe we should be involved in their management structure.
    I think we should consider covering the buildings utilities expenses. I believe the Armory’s focus on the Arts could complement the Chateau Theatre in creating an ‘artisitc quarter.’
    Please share with the Council.

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  • 08Sep

    Here is a copy of the completed Chateau Theatre Study.

    It would appear that the glowing recommendations for the ACI proposal at the armory have been scrubbed from this.



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  • 24Aug

    This just makes my blood boil. I though the Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative (link included so you can like their Facebook page) did an great job preparing and presenting a proposal to keep the local arts scene vibrant in Downtown Rochester. It seemed a number of times there were games being played behind the scenes to attempt to derail the proposal.

    This was a great project, not only for the Arts community, but also for the numerous cultural groups that were looking for a home. I am saddened by any vision of Rochester or DMC that does not keep our vibrant arts & cultures downtown, I am saddened for the politics that are clearly going on behind the scenes.

    I find it particularly interesting that no staff person ever evaluated or make recommendations on the 2 proposals. As it turns out the Mayor and city administrator withheld some pretty important information from the council.

    First here is what the city administrator read, at first I thought that someone had told him, but he claims he did this on his own.

     photo Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 4.03.15 PM_zpsw1y0pz1x.png

    More importantly here is what was withheld by the Mayor and Administrator:

     photo Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 4.02.56 PM_zpsueapchi2.png

    Does this change the discussion? I think so.

    I received verification from the city administrator that both he and the Mayor were aware of this. The city administrator acknowledged he should have shared Recommendation #2. Mark Bilderback who had the report, had not yet read it. I think he was also irritated.

    So basically arts community, I think Nick & I are pretty supportive, Sandra seemed willing to consider this… Get 4 votes, 5 if the mayor vetoes this. I know many of you in the RACC are disappointed of angry, so take action, write letters, contact elected officials. Don’t lose this opportunity. You have assembled an incredible team. I have been and will continue to be there for you.

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  • 04Jun

     photo logo_zpsyabu5ytb.jpg

    So this is the campaign logo I used in 2012. I am thinking about a refresh, but do not have art skills. I am happy to continue using this. Fortunately for me, I live in a community with a tremendous collaborative arts community. I will turn to your creative brilliance for inspiration!

    As such; your challenge if you choose to accept it; is to come up with a new design!

    If your design is picked you will be helping an elected official who is a passionate supporter of the collaborative arts community. You also will get recognition, a growler of a beverage of your choosing from a local business, and swag showing off your design. Also expect an arts party sometime during the campaign! Just Because…

    I try to minimize the rules so as to let your creativity flourish.

    1. Typically my campaign colors have been Orange & White
    2. Of course try to include “Michael Wojcik” and possibly “City Council”
    3. Logos that work large or small tend to be best.
    4. Have fun!

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  • 10Sep

    Uptown photo IMG_9278_zps2j96ce0p.jpeg

    The changing nature of the Uptown area has created tremendous interest in the area. In addition to the project we approved last night, there is another large project in the works. The Grandville apartments that were valued at $25 million just sold for $56 million. Commercial valuations on that stretch are up more than 30% since the project started.  While we have seen this happening downtown its great to see the prosperity spread to a formerly blighted area.

    My hope is that we will continue to make these investments in key areas. I would love to transform North and South Broadway in much the same way.

    The total investment in public art in this area was just under 500k.

    Most importantly this area used to be unsafe for cars, transit, bikes and pedestrians. In not accommodates users of all modes, ages, and ability levels. Seniors at Shorewood can now walk to a restaurant. Daycares can now take kids to the park.

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  • 07May

    I have not had time to read and digest this, but wanted to thank Bari Amadio for providing answers to the community questions.  If you are a member of an arts organization I would appreciate your feedback.  Just as when we compiled the list of questions it will be anonymous.  I have had a lot of feedback that a think tank and any organization overseeing funds must be keep separate for either to have credibility.

    I put the breaks on pretty hard at the last council meeting before any decision could be made.  The fact is we only got the responses at that meeting and the council and community need time to digest the material.

    Response to Request of City Council Representative Michael Wojcik April 4, 2014

    There is a misconception concerning the term BACE which needs to be clarified prior to the response to any questions. Building a Creative Economy aka BACE was a concept designed to change the thinking about the arts in Rochester. It was never a body or an entity in and of itself therefore any reference to BACE as such is a misreading of BACE. Read more…


  • 02May

    For 0.3% of our budget the Civic Music Department continues to be an amazing deal for the city of Rochester.  I will continue to support their mission and the arts in Rochester.


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