Downtown Businesses have Mixed Feelings about Possible Street Reconstruction

By KBJR News 1

January 29, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- What to do about the bricks downtown?

That's a complicated question with many possible answers that the Greater Town Council looking to solve in partnership with the city of Duluth.

They met Tuesday, discussing ideas on what do to about the aging bricks lining Superior and First Street.

Shops and stores lining Superior Street have mixed feelings about the proposed project. Some say the brick reconstruction is too costly, while others say it's a costly move not too re-brick.

"I think that Superior Street needs to be set off aesthetically from the rest of Duluth."

Tami LaPole Edmunds, owner of not one, but two new shops on Superior Street says the future of the bricks, is the future of the downtown district.

"I think that the bricks do that," said LaPole Edmunds, at Art in the Alley. "I think they're beautiful and they will need to be replaced periodically, as does everything."

Talks of replacing bricks recently surfaced, and while the project is still in the early stages, officials are looking for input from the public in the comings months.

"There's going to be ample opportunity for people to have input. That is what we are looking for right now, to be able to get people involved," said Kristi Stokes with the Great Downtown Council.

But, some businesses are not exited about replacing bricks, with more bricks.

"I would say we could be done with the bricks."

Carrie Brown of the Electric Fetus experienced first hand the first bricking of Superior Street.

"It was brutal. It was dusty, dirty, messy, noisy, loud,' said Brown, reminiscing about the brick work in the 1980's.

A brutal process that Brown says will leave business short of customers during crucial summer months.

Both Brown and LaPole Edmunds agree the re-bricking would hurt business in the short term, but LaPole Edmunds says it would be a small sacrifice for the greater good.

Mayor Ness says the planning would take about two years with a possible ground breaking in 2015.

Zach Vavricka

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