ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis dedicated a significant portion of his annual State of the City address Tuesday talking about renewable energy.

In 2014 we set a goal that by 2030 we wanted to make sure that we were carbon neutral in our city facilities.  It was actually reached in 2020.

Kleis says the city has saved $6 million in energy costs over the last seven years. Kleis says he and the city now have their sights set on higher goals.

We're looking at 2028 not only the city function but the community as a whole to be neutral on energy.  That's in six years and that is achievable.  And, if you add in cars and transportation, we want to reach that by 2038.

Kleis says the city will also form a partnership with an organization from Germany to help them create hydrogen out of the city's waste.

Kleis also wants the city council and voters to support a new bond referendum to improve the city's neighborhood parks.

That we can fund our neighborhood parks with funds for maintenance and repairs.  So parks that already exist that otherwise wouldn't have funding sources that we can bond for over the next 20 years, but do the work in the next five years to enhance our livability.

Kleis says he will be asking the council to approve the ballot question this year so that it can be on the ballot for voters this November.

Kleis says he will also be planting as many as 100 trees in the city's parks this spring and for $250 you can buy a tree with a plaque that will also be planted in a city park.

And, for $500 you can buy a locker at the old Technical High School.  The money will be used to preserve the history of the building.  Kleis' vision includes creating classrooms from various different decades on the third floor.

This year's Legacy Award winner is Hedy Tripp.  And, the first-ever Youth Building Award winners are Fyzeen Ahmed, Fahmo Abdi, Claire SiaSu, and Same Brewer.

(Photo: District 742)
(Photo: District 742)
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In addition to his yearly State of the City Address, Kleis has done 850 Town Hall meetings during his time in office.  Starting next week, he'll be adding a new Walk and Talk Town Hall around Lake George.

He also took a few moments to recognize two current St. Cloud State University students in the audience who are from Ukraine.

This was Kleis' 17th annual State of the City Address, which he delivered from the new City Hall Council Chamber.

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