ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- Newly elected St. Cloud councilwoman Karen Larson doesn't officially get sworn in until January, but she's already working hard.

Larson will be the new representative for Ward 2 which is all of the east side along with the Hester Park neighborhood area.

She has scheduled a Community Neighbor and Business Development meeting on November 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Salem Lutheran Church to gather input on improving the east side.

We're going to have a roundtable with speakers who are involved with renovation businesses on east St. Germain or starting new businesses on east St. Germain.  We're going to have community activists, hopefully, some officials there, some property owners there.

Larson says there are already some exciting things happening on the east side and if the east side wants to get growing it needs to start its own movement. She says that can start by marketing the east side businesses to the residents of the east side.

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She says a big goal for her is to change the perception that people have of the east side.

The best way to handle a stigma is to turn it into an asset.  We are gritty, we are scrappy.  When we develop east St. Germain maybe we should put in some metal sculptures to reflect our history as a transportation hub and a gateway into the city.

She says too many people from both the outside of St. Cloud and residents of the community don't have a high opinion of the city right now, and she wants to work on changing that perspective.

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