St. Cloud’s City Council approved two large projects during Thursday’s council meeting focused on bringing improvements to the River Road/Hopkins Park area.

The council voted to accept a $1,051.360 Community Project Funding grant for the construction of a centralized sewer system to replace aging, privately-owned septic sewer systems at homes along River Road, Bibbens Street, and Mency Street near Hopkins Park. Grant funds will be used to cover the cost for residents to connect to Toho’s sewer system. Once connected to the sewer system, residents will be responsible for paying the monthly utility bill for sewer.

The new sewer system will be connected to Toho Water Authority’s (Toho’s) St. Cloud service area collection system. Toho also will be relocating the lift station at Hopkins Park to accommodate the City’s renovations at the park. The septic-to-sewer system project is estimated to cost $1,721,602. The $1,051,360 grant will be used toward design, permitting, and construction of the relocated lift station, the new sewer collection system, connection of the residents to the new sewer collection system, and the abandoning of the existing septic tanks. Toho has included the additional cost over what is funded by the grant in its capital improvement program (CIP).

St. Cloud’s Council also approved the Master Plan for Hopkins Park, which includes $15 million in improvements, to include a new 14,200-square-foot Recreation Center, a community garden, basketball courts, a children’s play area, community plaza, a sports field and a trail. The work is expected to begin on architectural drawings for the Rec Center and continue into the new fiscal year.

The Hopkins Park Master Plan was developed in partnership with community residents, who provided input on what features they wanted to see there.
Council Member Shawn Fletcher praised City staff and the consultant for their work on the project.

“The city staff and the consultant have done a great job with community engagement,” he said, noting that he had spoken with many community members “and everyone is extremely excited. It warms my heart every time I visit the park, and I look forward to seeing this park go to the next stages.”