ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The plan to create a Business Improvement District for downtown St. Cloud is moving into the next steps.

The St. Cloud City Council has set a Public Hearing for its July 22nd meeting.

Downtown Task Force Chair Greg Winfeldt says creating the BID would be a way to provide resources beyond the normal city services.

He says they've identified a company called Block By Block that would be hired to help bring vibrancy to the downtown.

They currently serve about 160 BIDS across the country.  Some cities that use Block By Block are Rochester, Duluth just signed them up, and Fargo has used them for many years.

They would provide services like daily cleaning and beautification.  They also train their staff on de-escalation and have an incident reporting system to track everything happening downtown.

The cost to hire Block By Block would be about $500,000 a year. Winfeldt says the Task Force has $750,000 in donations from businesses and the city has committed $200,000 spread out over five years to help offset the cost. The rest of the funding would be from assessments on downtown property owners.

It would be a tiered system with Tier 1 on the west side of the Mississippi River and Tier 2 on the east side.

Winfeldt says the BID would work with the organizations that already exist.

The BID and the Downtown Alliance will work together to provide additional events, things like pub crawls, and flea markets, and farmers markets.  Anything that attracts people to downtown.

There will be an informational session on July 9th at 8:00 a.m. at the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Winfeldt says they hope to get as many property and business owners to attend as possible.

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If the City Council approves the plan at its July 22nd meeting, the next step would be to apply for the assessments.

Winfeldt says the BID could be set up as soon as 2025.


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