The Heart of the Community

community outreach

The New Year is always the perfect time to reflect on the grand memories that we hold near and dear. Traditions that are centered around family gatherings and outings with friends are often the first that come to mind. Whether it is enjoying the symphony orchestra, attending a pivotal high school sports game or watching the Eagles Cancer Telethon, it’s the sense of togetherness that makes us truly cherish those memories.

The Mayo Civic Center is proud to play an important role in keeping those memories and traditions alive for community members, and in helping to create wonderful new memories and traditions. For many citizens of Rochester, the Mayo Civic Center serves as the heart of the community. And with Mayo Civic Center’s large-scale expansion set to be complete on April 1, 2017, the Center will grow to be an even more beloved community resource and treasured gathering place.

I recently spoke with Kristine Ihrke, Director of Sales for Centerstone Plaza Hotel Soldiers Field, who looks upon the Mayo Civic Center with a great sense of nostalgia. “It’s been a part of this community for so many years. When I think of the Mayo Civic Center, I don’t just think of conventions. For me, I think of going down to the Civic Center when I was a kid for the Eagles Cancer Telethon. In high school, I cheered there for Mayo High School when the girls’ basketball team went to state. So, my memories--great memories--are right there in that building. It’s just a part of who we are. The conventions are nice, they’re needed, but for me, it’s the community activities that Mayo Civic Center hosts. You feel a part of what’s going on and it is amazing.”

community sportsThe convention expansion to the Mayo Civic Center features a 40,000-square foot Ballroom with seating capacity of more than 4,000 people, 14 additional suites and two boardrooms. The expansion will nearly double the size of the current space. What is truly fascinating to those close to the Center was the ability for significant growth without losing the sentimentality of the space.

“The expansion did not take away any of that. It didn’t take away the auditorium or the arena where there are so many memories. They took space that wasn’t being used and built upon the existing facility which is wonderful. This is going to be a community resource that we all can utilize. It’s important to remember how much our community needs it and think of how life would be like without it,” said Ihrke.

A major advantage of the Mayo Civic Center for people attending events or conferences is its remarkable convenience. The Center is attached to many hotels, downtown eateries, shops, and parking garages via a climate controlled skyway system, and is within walking distance of 2,400 hotel rooms.

Additionally, the city of Rochester provides big-city amenities without the big-city cost or hassle. The hotels work together to serve visitors with their best interests in mind. Ihrke has the first-hand experience to know that this is true. “We all work very closely together. We look out for the best interests of our guests--and sometimes it’s not our properties--but we would rather focus on the needs of our guests to ensure a pleasant stay.”

community eventsThe Mayo Civic Center addition was greatly needed to accommodate larger groups that appreciated Rochester’s charm and hospitable environment for visitors, but needed more meeting space and venue options than previously existed. “The new space allows us to host some of these larger conventions and conferences coming to town that we weren’t able to accommodate before. Convention organizers really wanted to host their events here because of the Mayo Clinic connection, but we couldn’t bring them to our hometown because we didn’t have the space. They wanted to come, but we just didn’t have what they needed. Now we will,” said Ihrke.

The impact that the Mayo Civic Center has on the community is much more than what meets the eye. It makes sense for the hotels to support the Center, but it’s also important for typical community members to provide support and recognize that a thriving Center provides benefits to the entire community.

Ihrke noted that the Mayo Civic Center draws event-goers downtown and attracts visitors to the city, which positively affects the local economy. “What needs to be realized,” noted Ihrke, “is the economic dollar turns over and over. If my business is successful, then we have the money to hire additional employees. That income is then reinvested in the community when it’s spent at the grocery store or in retail. It is all tied together so that when one wins, everybody wins. And that’s why I think we should be supporting each other and working to keep those dollars local.”

With over 17,000 jobs supported locally through Mayo Civic Center events and $48 million in economic impact generated, the Mayo Civic Center is the center of YOUR city. Help support the Mayo Civic Center by visiting Refer your next association meeting, company function, or any type of group event to the Mayo Civic Center where you know they’ll experience Rochester in the way that makes you proud to call it home.