Picking up your mail when you are out of town, cooking food for your next door neighbor or just maintaining the general upkeep around your property are all traits a good neighbor carries. As the St. Cloud community becomes more diverse, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis has taken an initiative to recognize those who do the little things in this community that help keep it as welcoming as possible.
Mayor Kleis announced that his office will be starting St. Cloud’s first “Neighbor of the month” to honor those St. Cloud residents who take the extra steps to help others in the community
“This is an award that will be given to a nominee from the community that is a good neighbor that goes above and beyond. This could be an individual, a family, could be a business, could be an organization that is recognized by their neighbors as being a great neighbor,” said Mayor Kleis.
Kleis said that we often spend 97 percent of our resources on 3 percent of the challenging neighbors and that we lose sight of all those citizens that are doing a great job.
Mayor Kleis pushes for collaborative participation between residents, initiating and joining in many events to help continue the sculpting of a welcoming and tolerant community. However, this award serves an even greater demographic and an even deeper meaning.
“I’ve been in so many emails and discussions and calls you get about bad neighbors, tough neighborhoods, folks aren’t taking care of their property or they’re just creating a lot of unrest in a neighborhood and it made me think of all the positive things,” said Kleis.
“I come from a perspective of looking at the positive side of things, trying to build on the positive aspects to deal with their challenges and also there are so many stories.”
The stories formed by citizens that he believes, go above and beyond, help to inspire others in St. Cloud to do exactly the same.
“I just heard a story from some folks that were in my office yesterday and talked about a neighbor who was renting, and they noticed an eviction notice and the woman across the hall paid the rent,” Kleis said.
This approach of recognition has stemmed from a belief that the Mayor upholds, which is believing that building off of the positive will help to generate more positivity in the community and that the acknowledgement of these stories about good neighbors will help to inspire others to do the same.
“There are many stories where people just maybe didn’t do something but just take really good care of their homes, they become an inspiration or a lot of times guilt the rest of the neighbors in to taking care of things, which makes for a better community,” Kleis said.
This monthly award is an endeavor to help spread good neighborly etiquette across St. Cloud, becoming a well-connected community.
The award will be given the first Monday of each month and the deadline for nominations will be the third Monday of every month. A selected committee will cipher through all of the nominations every month and make a selection.
The first recipient of the award will also be part of the committee. Kleis says that recipients will be awarded at the city council meeting, and will offer the recipient a prize that is discretionary to the recipient.
“What we’re going to be giving is not just the recognition and a plaque or certificate, but were also going to try to tailor the other aspect of a prize, if someone takes care of their home, maybe a certificate from a local nursery or hardware store, if somebody is always baking things for the neighborhood maybe an opportunity to go out and have somebody cook for them,” Kleis said.
“In some cases when we do this on a Monday it might not be at a city council meeting where we do the recognition, it might be surprising them at their home or their school or at their business, were going to try to have those who inspire us, inspire others.”