ST. CLOUD -- Green space, improved lighting and more sidewalk cafes are just a few of the ideas the St. Cloud Downtown Council has in store for revamping a portion of downtown St. Cloud.

The council along with the consulting firm Stantec invited the community to an open house at Pioneer Place on Wednesday night, to get a better understanding of what streetscaping improvements people would like to see on 5th Avenue and West St. Germain Street.

St. Cloud Community Development Director, Matt Glaesman says the city and the community have very similar goals for the project.

"Well a lot of folks are talking about greenscaping, wanting more grass and trees in the downtown. Some folks are talking about more bike racks and being more biker friendly. So really it's a pretty broad range and that's why early on we're reaching out to folks."

Different stations were set up at the open house, each station encouraged people to provide input or concerns they have with the stretch of downtown.

St. Cloud resident Dan Mcanally says he would like to see more parking in downtown but he doesn't think there is much opportunity to fix parking issues.

"Parking is always going to be an issue in Downtown. We only have so much room for that [parking spaces]."

Douglas Boser with Boser Construction and Inventure Properties says one of the most pressing issues is safety and until people feel safe downtown they won't come out.

"Safety is one of the reasons why my wife wouldn't come downtown. Some person might look at this and drive past and go, you know I don't feel quite secure enough so I'm going to drive out to the suburbs and eat in Waite Park or up by the mall."

Among safety and parking, bicycle accommodations, trash can design and planters or furniture that provide barriers for pedestrians from cars are all ideas the community is considering for the project.

Glaesman says work on the project is expected to begin next year.

"This is one of those plans that will actually come to life pretty quick because we do have funds budgeted next year to rebuild two blocks of 5th Avenue coming in from downtown and also heading down West St. Germain. This is a plan that's really more important because of the funding that's already available to build these street sections."

After going over the community's input on the project, the council and Stantec will develop design concepts. Another open house will be hosted in December to review the different design options.