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ST. CLOUD — Standing in the new town hall roomsSt. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis was all smiles as he delivered his 17th annual State of the City address in person.

Speaking to a full audience of city employees, community leaders, students and other residents, Kleis reflected on a year of change and resilience, commenting on the immense history of Saint-Cloud and what awaits us.

In a nod to Marian Anderson, the first African American to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera and the White House, a video of Anderson singing was shown in the council chamber as residents streamed in. 80 years ago this week, she performed in this hall. , which was once an auditorium, Kleis said.

During her speech, Kleis shared historic photos of old City Hall buildings and announced a fundraising effort to further preserve St. Cloud’s history.

After:‘This is the people’s house’: St. Cloud’s new town hall opens to the public

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis delivers his State of the City Address Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at St. Cloud City Hall.

In partnership with the Stearns History Museum, the city wants to construct period-accurate classrooms from various centuries on the vacant third floor of the former Tech High School building to serve an educational purpose for generations to come. Residents can purchase empty lockers in the building for $500 or a sapling for $250 to plant at a local park to support these efforts. You can call the mayor’s office or visit the city’s website next week to donate.

Tribute to young people, agents of change

Hedy Tripp, local author, social justice activist, educator and mentor, received this year’s Legacy Award.

Kleis said he also wants to recognize youth in the community who are making an impact with a St. Cloud Youth Building Award.

Tech High School Fyzeen Ahmad was honored for his seminal work Blue Star Project, a student-run project to bring music and other activities to local seniors. Fahmo Abdi, a senior at Tech High School, was honored for her work with the elderly, environmentalism, student leadership and volunteerism.

After:St. Cloud Tech High School students use music to communicate with seniors

Cathedral High School senior Claire Sia Su was honored for writing letters to seniors during the pandemic, volunteering with the Coborn Cancer Center and mentoring in youth sports. Sam Brewer, a recent graduate of Apollo High School, co-founded the Young People’s Collective to amplify the voices of young people in politics and volunteered for river cleanups.

Road resurfacing, public safety initiatives on the horizon

In his speech, Kleis highlighted public safety initiatives St. Cloud has taken to build on community policing goals, such as establishing a community outpost in South St. Cloud, the community engagement division of the police service and annual community policing agreement discussions.

After:St. Cloud officials discuss public safety and law enforcement challenges during panel

In 2022, the city is investing in infrastructure, and “we’re doing a record number of road surfacings this year,” he said.

Property taxes in St. Cloud remain below the statewide tax rate and the city is still carbon neutral for its energy use with 100% renewable electricity for city services, a Kleis said. By 2028, St. Cloud plans to be carbon neutral for electricity and by 2038 to be carbon neutral for energy use and transportation.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis delivers his State of the City Address Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at St. Cloud City Hall.

“These goals are achievable. I know they are achievable because we achieved goals that weren’t achievable before,” Kleis said. “[The] the wastewater treatment facility we have is actually the first in the state to produce this energy.”

Starting next week, Kleis said he will hold “walk and talk” town halls around Lake George in a bid to connect with more residents one-on-one.

He encouraged residents to take ownership of the city and their community.

“As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ Be the change you want to see in your community. Get involved. You know, it’s easy to talk about freedom and liberty, but it’s those who guarantee it who are our heroes,” he said. “It’s easy to talk about public safety, but it’s those who secure it who are its guardians. It’s easy to talk about health care, but it’s those who provide it who save lives. It’s easy to talk about the issues and problems we have, but those who get involved to solve them create a better community in which we want to live, and we want to prosper, we want to work.”

Becca Most is a city reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-241-8213 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @becca_most.

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