The 2 million annual visitors to Mayo Clinic have influenced the city in every way, encouraging a community of helpful residents, support services, and amenities enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.
“Rochester was founded decades ago on hospitality, where the visitor and patient come first, and service prevails before self,” says Brad Jones, executive director of the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau.
That hospitality shines through resident support for local support charities, such as Ronald McDonald House (RMH), which remains a key part of the Rochester community after 30 years. RMH provides home-away-from-home shelter for families of ill children being treated at Mayo Clinic. RMH accommodates 42 families and is always full.
Besides paid staff, more than 300 volunteers serve RMH, bringing comfort to the 800-1,000 families the charitable organization annually accommodates.
“Some volunteers make blankets for every child and their siblings, while you might find others baking cookies in our community kitchen,” says Linda Bonow, executive director of Ronald McDonald House. “A common thread throughout all of Rochester is to serve families. That’s the case with RMH as well as the hospitality industry, business sector, thousands of individuals, and charities like Hope Lodge, Transplant House, United Way and many more.”
Amenities Benefit Both Visitors and Residents
Residents here don't just benefit from being part of a kind and compassionate population, but enjoy many other amenities geared toward making guests comfortable during their time here.
“Because we take care of people, our infrastructure and transportation system continues to evolve in order to provide comfort and ease to all visitors," Jones says. "There are even patient-visitor apps with information about Rochester and Mayo Clinic that people can download onto their smartphones and tablets.”
Jones points out that the infrastructure of Broadway Avenue, the main street in downtown Rochester, is especially interesting because the vehicle thoroughfare is flanked overhead by a pedestrian skyway, as well as an underground pedestrian subway.
“The underground subway stretches four miles and has a variety of shops and restaurants for people to visit, while the overhead skyway connects buildings throughout downtown Rochester,” he says. “My downtown office is in the Civic Center, and I can walk about five city blocks to a majority of the Mayo Clinic facilities without ever walking outside. That’s great in cold weather conditions.”
People Getting Involved
Jones says there are 2,500 hotel rooms downtown for convenience to Mayo Clinic, and another 1,000 hotel rooms are a few miles away near Mayo Clinic Hospital (formerly St. Marys Hospital). Another 2,500 hotel rooms are sprinkled throughout the Greater Rochester area, with all hotels running shuttles to Mayo Clinic and its affiliated facilities.
“Rochester has many attractions for visitors as well as permanent residents, plus this city is one where many people can really get involved,” he says. “Whether it’s attending fundraisers such as the Seasons Hospice Gala in November, or the Chair Affair in February that raises about $250,000 for the Boys & Girls Club, Rochester is certainly a community with people who care.”