Please be sure to give input for city’s comprehensive plan

Residents of St. Joseph should be sure to speak up about what they would like to see in the city’s next 10-year comprehensive plan.

Too many people daydream or grumble about what they want or do not want in their city, but they never express their thoughts unless it’s to family and close-knit friends. Time to share your views.

There is a survey available on the St. Joseph City website that asks questions about the city, with plenty of places to add comments about the questions or about anything else, for that matter.

For those who do not have computer access, they can still give input by calling 320-363-7201 or by writing St. Joseph City Planner Therese Haffner, P.O. Box 668, St. Joseph, Minn. 56374.

Why is input so important? It’s because the St. Joseph City Council and city staff genuinely want to know what’s on the minds of residents: what do they like best about the city, what do they like least, what things should be strengthened, what things should go by the wayside, what kinds of amenities are desired, what should a community center house?

The survey has scores of categories that will trigger responses. For example, under “What do you love about St. Joseph,” among the categories are these: diverse community, restaurants, outdoor recreation, arts community, education, friendly people, shopping, atmosphere/character and so forth.

There are also open-ended questions, such as, “If you could change one thing about St. Joseph, what would it be?”

A city without a comprehensive plan is like a ship without a rudder. And a comprehensive plan without widespread resident input is like a ship without sails. That is why St. Joseph residents should not only take the survey but attend special meetings or public meetings about the plan whenever they are announced. The more input, the better the plan.

St. Joseph has taken giant strides in the past decade or two, making it a very exciting place to live in and to visit. Among the dynamic strengths are its vibrant downtown scene with a stimulating mixture of shops, restaurants, arts, music, apartments, a historical society, the walking proximity of a great college and – right across main street – the historic fieldstone church. It’s a wonderful blend of old and new, of tradition and innovation.

Other big pluses in the city are its relatively new Kennedy Community School, park improvements and the new Government Center, which is a triumph. For those who have not visited it yet, please take the time to do so. It’s an excellent building comprised of functional-flexible space, flooded with light.

St. Joseph’s last comprehensive plan was drafted in 2008. A successful new one will build upon the successes of the past and make the city even better year by year, but that can only happen with lots of citizen activism and citizen input. Start by filling out the survey on the city website. Go to Then click on “Read on . . .” right under where its says Comprehensive Plan Update and Pedestrian Bridge Study.” Then click on “Project Website” in about the middle of the page.

Those who want to fill out a paper copy of the survey can get a copy at the Government Center, 75 Callaway St. E.

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman

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