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Details still scarce on senior project

Getting everyone on the same page for a big project isn't easy, but that's what representatives from Doran Companies were hoping for during a Rosemount City Council work session Aug. 15.

Company representatives Kelly Doran and Bill Stoddard attended the work session hoping to have some ideas to start creating a preliminary concept of the senior living development and senior center they've been chosen to build. Additionally, Doran told the council the company would like to enter into some sort of agreement before getting more in depth on the project.

The council instructed staff to work with Doran to come up with an agreement in the coming weeks. The points of that agreement were not discussed much at the work session.

At issue is who will own and operate the senior center that would be attached to the senior living facility, how much the company will pay for the former St. Joseph school property and what the city wants out of a senior center.

Stoddard has visions of a senior center that possibly includes a pool and other wellness components.

"We want to encourage a little bigger thinking," said Stoddard.

While the council could appreciate bigger thinking they also seemed more interested in just getting something built.

Mayor Bill Droste said his main concern is getting something in place for seniors.

"They've been on us for many years. They want their own space. Something they can call their own," said Droste.

City administrator Dwight Johnson said whatever agreement the city comes up with, the senior center needs to act as a public facility that can accommodate more than just seniors.

"If it acts like, quacks like a publicly used space then we're fine," said Johnson.

Council member Jeff Weisensel suggested the company come up with a concept so the council could get public reaction to it.

"I like the vision out there. Something that's bigger and bolder," said Weisensel. But without something on paper it was all talk, he said.

Community development director Kim Lindquist expressed some worry that the site was limited because of its small space and the lack of available parking in the area.

"It's always fun to maximize but the site is only so big," said Lindquist.

By the end of the discussion all that remained were a lot of unanswered questions. City staff will work with Doran officials to come up with an agreement. Additionally, the company will come up with a concept plan.

Stoddard said they hope to start construction next spring and are open to a number of different scenarios. In his letter to the council Stoddard wrote, "We at Doran Companies are excited to be part of something special in Rosemount. It is now time to make critical decisions so we can go off to the race tracks with you on this."

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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