St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis revealed his 2023 budget plan Monday night at the city council meeting.  He made clear revitalizing the downtown is a top priority and to accomplish this he'd like to add housing. Kleis says they currently have 300 housing units downtown which includes subsidized housing, rentals and market rate housing.  He'd like to see the total amount of housing available make it to 1,000 units. More on this.

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Mayor Kleis has some ideas as to where this additional housing could be located.  He suggested the Lady Slipper surface parking lot along Highway 23 and where the Empire Building currently sits.  Kleis would like to see a hotel and a restaurant added to the Empire building location too.  He says housing will bring additional businesses downtown like a grocery store, drug store and additional retail.  Kleis says Rochester and Duluth recently underwent downtown transformations that included the addition of housing downtown in those communities.  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.

photo - Jay Caldwell
photo - Jay Caldwell

Safety has been a concern of some St. Cloud residents in regards to downtown.  Kleis affirms that downtown St. Cloud has proven to be one of the safer locations in the city.  He says they have cameras in downtown parking garages and on downtown streets.  Kleis says the parking garages downtown offer more than enough parking options even it some of the surface parking lots are replaced with housing and retail.

If you'd like to listen to parts 1 and 2 of my conversation with Mayor Kleis they are available below.




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