From: Dale Schauer
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester recently announced the proposal of a major expansion. As bedroom communities, the cities of St. Charles and Winona are in a position to benefit from the residual activity that follows such a project. Rochester will expand and some of those employees will not want to reside in the city. There are Mayo employees that commute from both towns today. For those that do live in the city and need a break away, residing in or visiting Winona would be a welcome change of pace. The possibilities are endless: new residential growth followed by the need for increased retail and service outlets, an increased market for existing tourism and cultural events. However, are people going to want to relocate or travel to towns with endless truck traffic? Where the quality of air and water is questionable or the hills and bluffs are replaced by open pit mines?
The city of Winona and Winona County have yet to generate an "indepth" study of the impact frac sand mining will have on the local economy and quality of life. How can one proceed without closely looking at these issues? How many jobs are projected per mine and each processing facility? How much estimated revenue will be generated and remain in the local economy VS leaving the state? How sustainable will these positions be with the fluctuating gas market as we transition to green technology? To our elected officials in St. Charles, Winona and Winona County, what will we become? The city of Winona spent time and money to generate a comprehensive plan that has no mention of mining. What are the citizens saying? Who benefits, a few or many? The real question is do you want to be a community associated with a world renowned medical center OR the frac sand processing and transportation capital of America?