The Connectivity Pillar pays tribute to the community resources that help support our quality of life, while enhancing the vitality of each Pillar. These resources range from county buildings that provide community services (e.g., human services and emergency response teams) to gathering places (schools, parks and religious institutions) that create social cohesion. As a predominantly rural county, the Connectivity Pillar emphasizes the importance in providing reliable networks (physically and digitally) that connect people to these resources. Stearns County’s commitment to this Pillar is further embodied in the following statement and goals.

Pillar Statement

Stearns County’s infrastructure, facilities, and services play an important role in connecting the places where we live, work and play. We recognize the inherent responsibility in maintaining these systems in a sustainable and f scally responsible manner. Enhancing these systems will require public and private partnerships that strive to maintain our quality of life.

  • Develop and maintain a transportation system that promotes the safety, mobility, and access of all users.
  • Coordinate infrastructure and service needs with development, and encourage development where the infrastructure and services are adequate to serve that growth.
  • Strengthen our regional role in connecting rural and agricultural economies with metropolitan areas through reliable transportation networks.
  • Deploy fast and reliable internet technologies that are equitable, affordable, and take advantage of existing infrastructure assets.
  • Provide County infrastructure, services, and facilities that benefit the residents of the County in a cost-effective manner.
  • Maintain a state of readiness to meet natural, man-made, and technological disasters on a local or countywide basis.

Connectivity Framework

The Connectivity framework is built around Stearns County’s Mission and Values, and the services/resources that contribute to our quality of life. The map below shows County buildings, parks, hospitals, police and fire stations, and civic uses. Residents are largely connected to these resources through transportation systems (roads, rail, and air), and to a larger extent, the internet and telecommunications.

County Buildings: These buildings house various County Departments that offer a range of services and programs that meet our daily needs. Courthouse Square, located in downtown St. Cloud, is the headquarters for County emergency, legal and administrative services.. Other County facilities (e.g., Public Works) are strategically located throughout the county to meet various needs. In 2009, the County opened a service center in Waite Park that will soon houses the Environmental Services Department and other land departments.

County Parks: The County’s park and trail system provide opportunities for recreation, social gatherings, and active lifestyles. The Stearns County Parks Department was established in 1974 and carries the responsibility for acquisition, planning, development, administration, and daily maintenance of over 2,600 acres of parks and trails. The Park’s Department is located in Quarry Park.

Emergency Services: Emergency services in Stearns County can be divided into three categories: police, medical (ambulance) and fire department jurisdictions. Most areas of Stearns County outside major cities are served by the Patrol Division of the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. These areas are also provided primarily by volunteer fire and medical response teams. All emergency service communications are provided by the Sheriff’s Office Communications Division, also known as the 911 Center. The Center dispatches for 30 fire and rescue departments, 17 police departments, and six ambulance services.

Civic Uses: The civic uses depicted in the map below range greatly between public and semi-public uses. These may reflect the location of city halls, town halls, and schools. These uses play an integral part in building a sense of place and social cohesion.

Transportation System: The map below highlights some of the County’s important transportation systems (rail and air) that support our economy and quality of life.

Stearns County Resources

Stearns County Mission and Values: Provide exceptional public services to assure a safe, healthy, and vibrant County for all.

  • Professional:We are ethical, reliable, accountable our actions, and strive for continuous improvement.
  • Responsive:We serve our clients and customers with a keen awareness of their needs
  • Approachable: We are eager to serve, friendly, helpful, and treat everyone with respect and dignity
  • Collaborative:We serve the public best with teamwork and community partnership
  • Fair & Equitable: We strive to eliminate disparities and provide impartial assistance to our employees and the people we serve

Focus Areas

Next Steps

The Comprehensive Plan can be implemented in a number of ways. On a daily basis, the document is used by County staff to review applications. The County Board, as well as other advisory commissions use the Plan when making decisions. It is used by residents and developers to understand the County’s intentions for the use of land, infrastructure needs, and planned park and open space improvements.

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