City planners are asking residents to think big – or small – about what they would like to see in St. Paul over the next several decades.

St. Paul staff members have started gathering community input as they begin working on the city’s comprehensive plan, a document that will guide development through 2040. They are holding three meetings throughout the city this week, with the final one scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Historic Streetcar Station at 1224 N. Lexington Parkway.

City officials said this is just the beginning of their community outreach.

“It’s not your last chance, but it’s your first chance” to weigh in, Nancy Homans, policy director for Mayor Chris Coleman, told attendees at the first meeting on Tuesday.

Over the next few months, staff members plan to meet with community groups and hold events in parks and other public places to gather feedback on big questions about the city’s future.

They are asking people what they cherish about St. Paul, what they want to change, which places in the city could be great in 20 years and what “big or little ideas” they have for St. Paul.

Many people have said they cherish parks, trails and open space, Principal City Planner Lucy Thompson told the Planning Commission on Friday. Residents would like to see more jobs for people of color, investment in neighborhood businesses, fewer absentee landlords and improvements in the housing stock and conditions of streets, she said.

After residents offer suggestions, a working group will start drafting a plan.

Some of the big challenges they will have to address include climate change, aging infrastructure, constrained financial resources and changing demographics, including aging baby boomers, Thompson said.

The working group is scheduled to complete a draft by early 2018, with the final document due to the Metropolitan Council at the end of 2018.

State statute requires that the city provide an updated comprehensive plan to the Met Council every 10 years. This time around, St. Paul is gathering more feedback from Minneapolis, Thompson said, and will meet with city staff there throughout the planning process.

“We’re going to keep up that conversation and continue that partnership,” she said.

To provide learn more about the plan and provide feedback, visit