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Rochester City Council takes action on RCT future, Kmart lot debate

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Rochester City Council took action on two big issues Wednesday night.

The Rochester Civic Theater is in the middle of a financial crisis and had a lease with the City through 2028.

The council voted to notify the theatre it intends to "terminate all agreements with the theatre in a manner that balances the existing production schedule." That schedule goes through May 17 of this year.

The council also voted to establish a new policy for how it distributes funding to outside organizations.

Before the vote, a theatre supporter testified saying, "No one, myself included, wants the Civic Theatre to fail. What we want, and what we have always wanted is more transparency, a safe and healthy creative work environment, and an opportunity to thrive and flourish in our creative means whether we are actors, singers, musicians, techies, ushers or patrons."

The other big issue Wednesday was whether to allow the former Kmart parking lot to become a park-and-ride lot for Mayo employees.

Community members weighed in on that as well, including Snappy Stop owner Bob Beeman. His burger stand is right next to the Kmart property.

"The traffic drives the small business in Kings Row and in Soldiers Field and at Snappy Stop. In order for us to be successful, we need the traffic over there," Beeman said.

In a 4 to 3 vote, the council did approve a conditional use permit to demolish the Kmart building and reconstruct the lot to include a total of 1,361 parking stalls.

The council also voted to approve a park-and-ride lease for the property to be used by Mayo Clinic employees. That too passed in a 4 to 3 vote.

KTTC Staff

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