One Stillwater resident would like to see a community center or a YMCA built in the St. Croix River city. Another would like to see a Trader Joe's come to town. A third would like more opportunities for kids who are not in athletics.

The ideas on how to improve the quality of life and the business climate in Bayport, Oak Park Heights, Stillwater and Lake Elmo are trickling in, but the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce expects to hear lots more in the coming weeks about what is good, bad, ugly or missing from the area.

A series of town hall meetings has been scheduled by the Chamber with the hope that residents, consumers and business owners will chime in, said Todd Streeter, the chamber's executive director.

The goal behind what's being dubbed the "Community Symposium: Your Ideas, Your Future" is "for the four cities to work together to determine the future for the next 10 to 20 years," Streeter said.

A panel of mayors, County Board members and representatives from businesses and community organizations will attend each of the nine town hall meetings, which begin Wednesday at the Bayport Public Library. Sessions will continue through Sept. 27.

Anybody is allowed to speak during the two-hour sessions, but are asked to keep comments to the three questions that the chamber is seeking to collect feedback. Those questions ask about amenities they cherish, what ordinances or obstacles might be impeding progress, and what businesses or services they want but don't have.

Some people are not waiting for the meetings. A handful have already submitted ideas and comments to the website www.communitysymposium.com where people can weigh in from home. Comments and suggestions -- without names attached -- given at meetings or submitted electronically will be posted on the website

"The process will be live," Streeter said. "We just want to get people to talk about how we might view the future."

When the meetings end, the 19-member panel will pour through the comments and hold in-depth discussions to follow up.

Hypothetically speaking, Streeter said, those talks might focus on whether or not to put more money into the park system if people say they cherish them, or ways to create a dog park if that is identified as a need, or on programs that need to be enhanced or scuttled.

"That is the exciting part of this process," Streeter said.

"There are no promises about what will happen. This is a journey and the destination is not known."

Tim Harlow • 651-735-1824 • Twitter: @timstrib