You only get one chance every year to start a new decade.

As we put the wraps on the decade of the 2010’s here in Osceola County, we’re asking local officials and “movers ‘n shakers” to reflect on the last year of this one and the first one of the new decade, the “Roaring ’20s”, and how we’re going to best usher it in.

Paula Stark is the Executive Director of St. Cloud Main Street.

The city of St. Cloud, particularly its downtown district, has one heck of a past, and is on the cusp of a very positive future.

Paula is working to preserve the past while enhancing the development of the present and future, so while trying to market and promote the city’s central business district, she has a focus on two different directions of time.

Here are her thoughts on the past year, the one upcoming and what St. Cloud’s entertainment and central hub might look like when we do this again in 2029.

What were St. Cloud Main Street’s biggest wins in 2019?

“Of all our financially successful events we put on, the Veterans Salute Dinner grew to the biggest is has in six years. We hosted 92 veterans at the last event. It was really exciting to see. We installed our fifth statewide historical marker at Hunters Arms. Moving forward on that was one of the initiatives we put in place five years ago.

“We wrote a grant to update our architectural survey. That will allow for us to highlight anything that’s become historical since 1970, and we hope to complete that in 2020. We’ve also pushed Small Business Saturday, which had a significant impact in downtown St. Cloud. We’re blessed with a roster of merchants who wish to succeed; they see things happening and are getting creative on their own to do it.”

Paula Stark

Executive Director, St. Cloud Main Street

What are you looking forward to in 2020?
“The city is assisting us with a monthly market, and were in planning now to hold a farmer’s market, so people should be on the lookout for when that all starts. Our historic preservation initiative has moved on to the St. Cloud Hotel. It may not look like it from the street but things are happening on the inside and some more visible work will start in January.

“We’re going to be addressing a use for the power plant building (near 10th Street and Connecticut) and starting a plan for a restoration of Pennsylvania Avenue in June; we’re hoping it could look like what we did on New York Avenue. And, as part of the Solider City marketing, we’ll be assisting with getting another historical marker at Mount Peace Cemetery.”

When you look at the end of the next decade, what does downtown St. Cloud look like in your mind’s eye? “It will be interesting to see how some of the projects will move forward. I think you’ll see continuation of the historical revitalization efforts. Florida and Massachusetts (Avenues) may be a part of that. I can see a whole new district that bridges the gap between downtown now and the power plant (along 10th Street). And the state has told us it will work with us on adding our historical district to the National Registry (of Historic Places).

“In the future, we’ll still be talking about the past, and melding it all together in St. Cloud.”

Positively Osceola would like to thank Paula Stark and everyone at St. Cloud Main Street… they are definitely all busy making a positive difference in St. Cloud, and in Osceola County!