Mayo Civic Center is finally happening!

The Mayo Civic Center Project is finally happening thanks largely to Kim Norton, Tina Liebling, Tom Bakk and Mark Dayton. Here are some preemptive comments I put out to staff regarding the upcoming process.


I have to pinch myself and realize that this is finally happening.
So here are my comments in writing before we get started.  So no blank stares when I ask about these..
Since I wear a number of hats in the community I wanted to put together a list of things that are important to me and others that I work with.  I also wanted to issue a preemptive strike against what staff did on the Recreation Center project (we have to cut something so lets cut energy improvements…)


Here is what is important to me.  I don’t think that any of these are controversial, let me know if I am wrong.

  • Transparency – Let’s quickly create or something similar where we can post project updates, schedules, closures, events, etc.  Let put up a big banner on the project referencing that page.  The Mayo Civic Center webpage is out of date.
  • Communication – I would like project updates (simple 1 pagers) monthly as this project progresses.  I would also like a single contact point for information requests and questions.  Unless I hear otherwise I expect this will be Donna Drews.
  • Art Center viability – The plan has always been that we will preserve the visibility of the building from 2nd street.  I expect this to stay the same.
  • Art Center access – I would like to see a construction management plan that clearly spells out how the Art Center can be accessed in an ADA compliant manner throughout the process.  I understand that there will be some closures during the project, but I want to see them communicated ahead of time and the length of the closures minimized.  I say this with my Art Center board hat on, but I would repeat this for the Civic Theatre and existing Civic Center venues.
  • Riverfront plaza – Before I was on the council we made the decision to relinquish park land for the expansion.  This loss is eased because the park land is essentially an inaccessible, grassed over, goose toilet…  That said, I hope we work closely with CUDE, Parks, Art Center, RDA, Public Works, DMCC, and others to ensure that the remaining space is an amazing vibrant, and welcoming area.  It should provide a wonderful respite for facility users and a great outdoor connection to our Art Center.
  • Vistas – The glassed in walls along the South end of the facility will provide a great vantage point. I hope that we ensure that there is seating available when appropriate for chance gatherings and a place to simply look out over the plaza, river, and art center.
  • Civic Theatre – I am committed to delivering the space to the Civic Theater that we committed to when we built support for this project.  The civic theater is a community gem and I want to see it grow.
  • Building facades – I realize that we punted on the North side of the facility, but I expect the West and South sides to be unified and open as we showed the public.  We have fairly been criticized over the years for building a piecemeal facility.  That stops with a unified facade as part of this project.  The architectural renderings look great.
  • Ticketing – I have brought this up in the past and I will continue to hammer on this.  Somewhere near the skyway access to the MCC I want to see a single location (even if it is movable) where we can provide community information and sell tickets for events at ALL of our municipal facilities.
  • Energy efficiency – B3 is a great starting point.  I would like to verify that the roof support structure is sufficient to potentially host community solar and/or a green roof in the future.  This is an expectation I have for all municipal buildings going forward.
  • Stormwater – I hope that the net runoff from storm water is reduced as a result of this project, this is an environmentally sensitive site.  There are many opportunities for rain gardens as part of the project earthwork.
  • DMCC Credit – Our project funding was lowered due to DMC, it is important that the city receive credit (toward our 128 million) for expenses beyond what we initially planned for.  I will advocate for this when the DMC plan comes forward.


  1. I’m not incredibly familiar with the project. Is there going to be enough excavation for geothermal to be an option?

  2. 1. As I commented recently DMC money requires living wage jobs, what is the calculation of that, where is it available and when will the public comment on this facet be available.
    2. The plan apparently is under revision, when is it made public, what is the comment period? For example a true concert hall, facility for art films, other community events.

    1. I think this will be discussed at the next MCC Steering committee meeting. I think the “revisions” are just based on code changes, and new technologies. In MN I think that Living wage is right around $15 / hr. This will have to be quantified.

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