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Group aims to triple population of Downtown St. Paul

The plan to bring 20,000 more residents to downtown St. Paul
The plan to bring 20,000 more residents to downtown St. Paul 02:05

ST. PAUL, Minn. – From Taylor Swift to TC Summer Fest, downtown Minneapolis has had a successful summer hosting big events.

But what about the other Twin City? It turns out, efforts are beginning in downtown St. Paul to bring more people in for the long haul.

Joaquin Galindo has been a resident of downtown St. Paul for nearly 15 years and says, overall, the area has improved.

"There's no complaints. I've been growing with the city, the city has been growing with me," Galindo said. "Definitely more restaurants, more bars. There's more shows around. I think Xcel Center has been doing a great job attracting concerts."

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But the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance wants even more people like Galindo to live, eat, work and play in downtown. 

Alliance President Joe Spencer says a recent study from the International Downtown Association found the best downtowns in America have 10%-15% of the city's population living there.   


"So for downtown St. Paul, our population has doubled over the last 10 years, but that puts us at just 3% of the city-wide population," Spencer said. "So we set this goal of growing to 30,000 residents. Currently we're at [10,000]."

The alliance has started work on a plan to bring 20,000 new residents and workers to the heart of St. Paul. The strategy will identify up to five development opportunities for the city and its partners to invest in. But the details, and potential results, are still a ways away. 

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"So we're doing a lot of market research, we're doing some community engagement. And then over the next six months or so we'll continue to engage with these institutional leaders and come up with a plan we're hoping to have ready to roll out early next year," he said. "We don't think of this as an overnight goal, it's probably not even a three- to five-year goal. This is a long-term goal. But what that does, though, is it will help us set policy."

"Honestly, I think it's amazing," Galindo said. "That's what the city needs. We need more people that come here, pay taxes, spend more money."

The Alliance plans on conducting community engagement this summer and fall before releasing the "Downtown Investment Strategy" early next year.

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