ST. CLOUD - Several new businesses have opened in downtown St. Cloud in the first half of the year. St. Cloud Downtown Council President Pegg Gustafson says they've added 10 new members so far this year, including: Konrad's, Quarks American Bento, Heavenly Treats, and the Rusty Pick.

I think people are starting to understand, again, the value of downtown. And we're just making so much great progress. And, of course, it's a collaborative effort as well.

Gustafson says they also have four pending new members, including: Big Apple Bagel, JL Beer's, and 7 West Taphouse.

Gustafson says nearly $3 million has been invested in downtown buildings in the first six months of the year.

Meanwhile, with the extension of the Beaver Island Trail in downtown St. Cloud still under construction, there's already talk extending it further. Gustafson says the Rotary Club of St. Cloud is in the very early discussions of creating a boardwalk from where the trail will end, up to the hospital.

Right now St. Cloud is extending the Beaver Island Trail from behind the Convention Center, along the river, down to the trail head being at Hester Park. So, if we could connect what the city is doing and extend it all the way to the hospital with a real boardwalk, the lighting, the activities, and redo everything...

Gustafson says, now that the Rotary Club is essentially done with their refurbishing projects at in the Eastman Park/Lake George area, they're looking for their next project.

The $6.2 million extension project that's underway right now is being paid for with half-cent sales tax dollars, federal funds, and capital from the Convention Center. It's scheduled to be done by the end of next summer.

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