ST. CLOUD - The St. John’s Cantius Neighborhood is looking to get a facelift, while also adding safety. There are two projects in the works, which include adding crosswalks to the neighborhood, and adding a Gateway sign to identify the neighborhood.

There are eight proposed crosswalks that would be added to the SJC neighborhood. See the map below for their proposed locations. SJC Neighborhood Board Chair Katy Westlund says a lack of crosswalks in their neighborhood is an issue.

One of the issues that we had in our neighborhood is that it's kind of split up through several different large roads. We have a lot of children, and people that do a lot of walking in our neighborhood, and we want to be able to provide access. That way kids can get across third street in a safe manner, and so that they can get across to get to Smittys, and get to the library, and then also that the kids on the other side of the road can get across, and have access to the library, and Lake George.

Some of the crosswalks would be an art crosswalk. Local artist Nathan Lewis was chosen to make the art. The art crosswalks would be crossing over West St. Germain Street, at 13th Ave. N. and 16th Ave. N. Westlund says this gives people a chance to enjoy art in the area while also having a safe place to cross over the busy street. She added there has been lots of positive feedback on the crosswalks from members of the neighborhood. They took surveys to help decide on the art to be used in the crosswalks.

The second project is a Gateway for the neighborhood. At a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 20th) five artists’ portfolios are being looked at to decide who will create the sign.

The gateway project will be a great way to identify our neighborhood. We don't have any signs that say SJC Neighborhood. Now that we have the library, and people are walking around a lot more, it will be a great way to solidify our neighborhood, and hopefully bring people together. We're hoping that we can get people involved in the process of choosing the artist.

The proposed location of the SJC Neighborhood Gateway project.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

Westlund hopes tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting will generate ideas about how the neighborhood should be represented on the Gateway. She added other core communities in the area have Gateways, and this would create a way to engage the community while the artist is working on the project. The Gateway will be located on the corner of West St. Germain Street, and 18th Ave. N., next to the new Quinlivan & Hughes building along Division Street.

Tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting will be held at the St. Cloud Public Library in the Array Room. It starts at 7:00 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m. The artists’ portfolios will be reviewed, and there will be a presentation by St. Cloud Arts Commission Coordinator Jennifer Penzkover. Westlund says everyone is invited to attend the meeting.

We want as many people; art lovers, people who don’t love art, anybody in the community, we want them to come forward and take part, and learn with us in this process.

Below is a map of the proposed locations of the crosswalks and the Gateway project.

The blue lines represent proposed crosswalks. The red lines would be the art crosswalks created by Nathan Lewis. The marker is the location of the Gateway project.