In a proactive move to mitigate downtown parking challenges, the St. Cloud City Council initiated exploratory steps during its Thursday evening meeting for the construction of a new parking garage.

Council approved on first reading a pair of ordinances assigning a future land use of Commercial and zoning of Central Business District to several city-owned tracts of land surrounding City Hall.

“This is simply changing the future land use and the zoning,” Council Member Kolby Urban said. “It gives us more flexibility to improve our downtown.” He also noted that the action “doesn’t mean the community garden is going anywhere in the near term.”

Assistant City Manager Dave Tomek noted that there are other locations for a community garden in the future if needed.

The construction of a downtown parking garage in St. Cloud is part of the Community Redevelopment Agency Master Plan and the City’s Comprehensive Plan.