ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud Metro area is finally getting their parking ramp. The Minnesota House and Senate have approved a bonding bill which includes $11,560,000 for the construction of a River's Edge Convention Center parking ramp.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis says the expansion project has been in and out of bonding bills for over a decade. He says that's why they went ahead and expanded the convention center using local food and beverage dollars.

Kleis says the need for additional space couldn't wait any longer because they were losing bookings.  He says the increased business since the expansion of the convention center has been an economic boon for downtown St. Cloud.  Kleis says downtown shops are at their lowest vacancy rate in four decades.

The increased business activity has also driven the need for additional parking space.

Kleis says once the governor signs the bonding bill, they'll get to work on the bid process. He hopes they can break ground by late summer or early fall.

Also included in the bonding bill is $18,000,000 for a new intake and health services area at the St. Cloud Prison, $865,000 for design plans to renovate Eastman Hall at St. Cloud State University and $500,000 for Central Minnesota Regional Parks.