St. Cloud Seeking $100M in State Bonding for Downtown Improvement
ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- St. Cloud is planning to ask the Minnesota State Legislature for $100 million in bonding money during the next session.
On Monday night the council will be asked to approve a resolution in support of the request. The city says the "Downtown St. Cloud Catalyst Infrastructure and Reinvestment Improvements" will enhance and reposition downtown's public realm.
The money will be used to make improvements that will create safer, more attractive vital spaces solidifying downtown's position as an economic engine for all of central Minnesota.
The city says some of the key issues that will be addressed include residential development, the redevelopment of the surface parking lots, more utilization of the Mississippi River, connecting key institutions like St. Cloud Hospital and St. Cloud State, and creating a more walkable pedestrian environment.
A task force has been formed to define the strategic infrastructure investments that will help to revitalize the downtown.
State Representative Dan Wolgamott of St. Cloud says he strongly supports the request, and as a member of the House Bonding Committee, he says he's in a position to convince his fellow lawmakers.
Of course, I'm going to be pushing hard to get them to come to downtown St. Cloud to see first hand all the great things that are happening and the impact that it will have on the region of central Minnesota.
Wolgamott says a precedent has already been set with similar money given to Duluth and Rochester.
He says just this past legislative session he was able to get $750,000 for improvements to the Veterans Bridge that connects the downtown to the east side and $10 million for the Great River Children's Museum, so there is already a lot of momentum going for state dollars coming into St. Cloud.
Back in December, the city hosted a Summit on the vision for the future of the downtown. It was held at the River's Edge Convention Center.
St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis has made revitalizing the downtown his top priority. He talked about it during his annual State of the City Address, and he also addressed the issue during his annual budget proposal to the city council last August. He wants to see nearly 1,000 new housing units in the downtown area in the next five years.