ST. CLOUD -- Creating some new housing near the train station in East St. Cloud is one of the catalyst sites featured in a new planning document put together by the city.

The Simonson Lumber Transit Oriented Development would keep the existing Gulf Eagle Supply Building but redevelops the rest of the site. The goal is to have as many housing units as possible in close proximity to the train station.

Community Development Director Matt Glaesman says they are now looking for feedback on this concept, along with the other catalyst sites, to gauge public interest.

The worst thing that we can do is bring that kind of an outside investor to town, say this is what we want done, and as soon as they come to town there's opposition, concern, and roadblocks.  So, we'd really like to get to the point that we have this shared vision in the private sector, public sector, and everyone that is involved in the community as a stakeholder.

Another catalyst site is to put a hotel, restaurant, and plaza along the river where the Riverside Apartments are currently.

Image courtesy of the city of St. Cloud

Another concept is for retail along East St. Germain Street including bars and restaurants, an international market and other non-traditional retail space.

Glaesman says new federal tax incentives make this latest effort to revitalize the east side more of a reality.

The opportunity zone where we now have an incentive, a significant incentive, for developers to come to St. Cloud and foster development in these targeted areas. Very intentionally the east side of St. Cloud is in one of these targeted opportunity zones where there is a tax incentive for developers to do a project.

The east side plan notes some of the threats to these projects include creating a mixed-use urban district that compliments downtown and doesn't compete with it, the negative perception of the east side needs to change, and general apathy on the part of some in the community.

You can give your thoughts during an open house on Thursday from 5:00 until 6:30 p.m. at St. Cloud City Hall.

You can also email Glaesman at planner@ci.stcloud.mn.us