ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- There is no shortage of enthusiasm for what the potential future could hold for east St. Cloud, or more specifically the corridor of East. St. Germain Street.

On Tuesday night St. Cloud City Council Woman Elect Karen Larson hosted a visioning meeting at Salem Lutheran Church.

The room was filled with interested residents who heard from a number of new property owners about their future plans for the historic district.

Lenora Hunt announced to the crowd that she has purchased the former Ace Bar building.  She founded the nonprofit "Too Much Talent" which has the goal of raising people up out of poverty.  She says the building will become a community center.

Kevin Johnson gave an update on his property which will be the home to Iron Street Distillery opening in early January and also Harvester Square an event center opening next summer.  As for future development projects on East St. Germain Street, Johnson says there are buildings available that are reasonably priced, so it is a prime area for redevelopment.

East St. Cloud Meeting
East St. Cloud Meeting

Marla Waseka talked about her plans for the Mackrell Building at 413-415 East St. Germain Street.  She plans to have the four apartment units renovated and rented out by early next year and then will start working on the retail space on the main floor in the late spring.

Maddie Waseka recently became the new owner of the Copper Lantern which she says will be renovated with some new menu items coming next year.  She also owns the former Dutchmaid Bakery building which she would like to turn into a coffee shop with a food program.  She says her vision is sort of an 'eat street St. Cloud' on East St. Germain.

Val's Owner Aaron Henning also addressed the crowd and called it the largest listening session the east side has had in a long time.  He did caution that the community needs to brace for the impact the Highway 10 project is going to have on businesses starting next year.

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Another speaker was one of the founders of the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation Brian Myers.  He says the city's second COP House will be on the east side, there's no location picked out yet, but it will likely be close to East St. Germain Street.  He says it will have a community space and a nutrition element.

East St. Cloud Meeting
East St. Cloud Meeting

Longtime eastside resident and business owner Joan Jaye says she feels the east side is already a vibrant community that is a safe place to live and visit, it just happens to be mostly commercial so there's not a lot of activity in the evening.  She does like the energy and enthusiasm the new building owners are bringing to the community but doesn't want to overlook the longtime businesses that have already been there for many years.

Beaudreau's Bar on East St. Germain Street has the distinction of being the city's first saloon and therefore is the longest-running bar in town dating back to 1884.

Larson says the next step is the organization and communication between the business owners so they can work together on things like parking concerns, and promotion.

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