Public services in St. Cloud struggling to keep up with growth

The population in St. Cloud is growing rapidly and public safety is trying to keep up. 

The St. Cloud Police Department headquarters is out of room. It is so bad, closets are being turned into offices. 

The police department is not the only department dealing with growing pains. 

Fire Rescue Chief Joe Silvestries says he needs more firefighters, but he's out of room.

"I have no more beds for heads," Silvestries said.

At the fire department's headquarters, a conference room was turned into sleeping quarters. 

The lobby is now a makeshift office, and nearly every office is now occupied by two employees. 

The department is now considering adding portable units to sleep more firefighters and serve as office space.

"We would have to get like a trailer-type, modular unit on a temporary basis just to get the services out there," Silvestries said.

But, the chief says he really needs two additional stations because public demand on the department is not going anywhere but up.

"We're getting to the point now where our response times, based on what the city is wanting us to keep up, will be a challenge in the future if we don't build those two fire stations," Silvestries said.

Also being considered is bringing fire and police administration under one roof, solving the lack of space for both departments.

"To build a public safety complex that would house fire and police administration, and would have the ability for expansion over the next 10 to 20 years," Silvestries said.

A task force is being created to explore funding options for the $30 to $50 million undertaking. 

For the time being, temporary fixes will have to do.

"These projects are huge projects, so even if there was approval and all the stars aligned, you're looking at three to five years to get a shovel in the ground and start moving it," Silvestries said.

The chief says the goal is to present a funding and logistics plan for the new facility to the St. Cloud City Council in 180 days.