Report Reveals Significant Progress in Eastern Downtown Duluth

By KBJR News 1

November 13, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 6:53 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
-- In the past six years, the city of Duluth has achieved something that normally would take a community at least two decades.

That's what a review of the city's progress says from a 2005 charrette.

It was a week-long public design workshop in 2005 to decide a vision and plan for the city that would help revive Duluth's East Downtown area, the east hillside and waterfront district.

The progress has been tracked, for six years now and the progress looks promising.

"They see Duluth and they see limitless potential, and they see some great assets you can't re-create in the suburbs," said Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

A comprehensive overview of Duluth's Eastern Downtown Area says the city is showing significant progress, building on existing assets to create real growth.

"And it is translating into economic development and it's translating into bringing new jobs to our area," said Ness.

By building a strong creative corridor including the Zeitgeist Arts Center and the purchase of the NorShore Theater, the vision to attract people with creative, knowledge based industries is working.

"Making it welcome so the workforce is full of people excited to be here, that's the most important thing to make this place growth," said President of the Duluth Planning Commission Drew Digby.

The report does have suggestions going forward including capitalizing on anchor institutions such as hospitals and universities.

"We see the development of the arts district of another laboratory classroom because of our student artists. Already we are discussing our 2014, 2015 season with the assumption the NorShor theater space with be open for business," said Bill Payne with the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Other suggestions include stronger marketing, getting city leaders to become more active, defining the creative corridor visually, and creating stronger housing.

The report was assembled by the University of Miami School of Architecture and a Team of Knight Community Building Fellows.

Zach Vavricka

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