ST. CLOUD -- Streetscaping, more shopping options, green spaces and outdoor seating are just a few plans that are in the works for downtown St. Cloud.

The St. Cloud Downtown Council hosted it's annual State of Downtown meeting Tuesday night at the Pioneer Place. The meeting focused on concepts to make downtown more urban and modern.

President of the St. Cloud Downtown Council, Pegg A.K. Gustafson says making improvements to downtown will bring more people to downtown.

"Downtowns have traditionally been for people and so urban really means where it's most dense. We have 10,000 employees in downtown, which always surprises people, and about 625 businesses. So it's large it's important to the tax base and it's important to the region."

Plenty of new initiatives are being developed in downtown including extending the Mississippi River walk and doing construction on 5th Avenue. Gustafson says streetcaping is how the city plans to make downtown attractive for all ages.

"How do we again make sure that people feel welcome, downtown should be for everybody. And how do you build that with a hardscape, so you can program for young and old, for concerts, for outdoor dinning and for gathering spaces."

Gustafson says for now they are focusing on streetscaping on 5th Avenue but in the near future construction on West St. Germain Street will begin.

Five Urban awards were also given out at the meeting. Each awardee was honored for playing an active and influential role in downtown St. Cloud.

Boser Construction/Inventure Properties were awarded the Legacy award for investing $3 million in The Bank at 501 West St. Germain Street.

The Barth family were named Ambassadors of downtown for their passion and inspiration to others. The family restored the Elk's building. They also operate a number of downtown restuarants and bars including Beaver Island Brewing Company. The Barth's also created the street festival, Takin it to the Streets.

Capital One and their employees were awarded the Champion award for their volunteerism. Many employees, frequently throughout the year volunteer to clean up downtown, making it a safer, cleaner and more enjoyable space.

Cindy Hawker with the United Arts of Central Minnesota was given the Arts award for making an impact on the community with the Sculpture Walk. The walk features 12 temperary sculptures on loan to the community.

The Mississippi Riverwalk Task Force was presented with the Vision award for making the river more open to the community. The task force is in partnership with the St. Cloud Rotary Club, Mississippi Partners, City of St. Cloud and Downtown Council.

More From AM 1240 WJON