Park Point street-end controversy continues

By KBJR News 1

June 16, 2014 Updated Jun 16, 2014 at 8:59 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The future of Park Point in Duluth is a sensitive subject for many people living along the Point, and continues to be even after Duluth city councilors passed a resolution establishing right-of-ways for public parking and beach access.

Members of the Park Point Neighborhood Street-end Coalition say making this access open to the public is unacceptable to them.

Coalition spokespeople worry about issues with parking, among others, and feel the city should focus on improving parks along the point, instead.

"We want some privacy in the residence," said Brian Nelson, spokesman of the coalition.

Nelson says the group sent a letter to Duluth Mayor Don Ness and city councilors explaining their concerns with the open access policy to Tier II access points.

"This is a residential neighborhood. It's private," he said.

However, councilors understand that there is a variety of opinions coming from different groups throughout the community, and say pleasing everyone isn't always possible.

"It can't always be one way, I mean we have many, a great variety of opinions on what needs to happen to those street ends," said Duluth city councilor Sharla Gardner.

But the coalition fears what these open access points would do to parking, and littering.

They say it could ultimately create an unhealthy and unsafe environment.

"People will come in and trying to get as close to the lake as they can, rather than going down to the park and climb over a sand-dune or walk a little bit... so they'll take up the residences' parking," said Nelson.

Members say the city should instead focus on restoring Parks along the point.

"The parks, in my opinion, are in very poor condition. They should be showcased for the city of Duluth," said Nelson.

"There's a huge variety of opinions and points of view, and what we need to do is all sit down together and try and work something out. So I'm hopeful that we will continue to do that," said Gardner.

16 access points are expected to open up to the public... half of them on the lake side, the other half on the bay side.

The resolution required the city council to meet with stakeholders with a 90 day period to sort out any issues.

Councilor Gardner says the meeting will likely take place in the next two weeks.

Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com