ST. CLOUD -- Calling it the city's top economic development priority, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says the city will be holding a Downtown Summit sometime this fall.

Kleis says we need to look to Rochester and Duluth and the success they have had lobbying for big state funding dollars in their downtowns.

We're going to do what Rochester and Duluth have been very successful at, they've received some state dollars.  In fact, I think Rochester has received more than any other connecting the Mayo Clinic to their downtown.  We have one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation.

Kleis says one of the first steps will be adding more housing units to the downtown in the next five years.

What you have to have first is you have to have people living there, you have to have housing.  Housing is going to be the focus.  The goal for the housing in downtown, right now we have 300 some units, the goal would be in the next five years to have well over 1,000 housing units in the downtown.

Kleis says if more people are living downtown that will generate more private businesses to the area.

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He says the city will be working with St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud Cathedral, and the downtown business owners to form a partnership.

Kleis made the comments on Monday night during his 2023 preliminary budget presentation in front of the St. Cloud City Council.

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