Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Olmsted County Board voted 5-2 today to approve the purchase of the Seneca Foods canning plant property in southeast Rochester. Commissioners Mark Thein and Gregg Wright cast the 2 no votes.

The $5.6 million deal, announced late last week, covers approximately 11 acres of land adjacent to Graham Park, which is often referred to as the County Fairgrounds. It went on the market late last year after Seneca closed down the local canning operation.

Rochester City Council President Randy Staver earlier applauded the purchase agreement, saying the acquisition of the property represents a unique opportunity for the development of a future mobility hub as part of the Destination Medical Center initiative. He notes the location next to Highway 14 and South Broadway provides the site with easy access and says the existing rail line running through the site even raises the possibility of a future light rail connection to downtown Rochester.

In announcing the purchase, County officials also pointed to the possibility of expanding Graham Park and offering other amenities at the site, which could include affordable housing. County officials also indicated their intention to work with the city to preserve the historic "corncob" water tower on the Seneca property.

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