Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood works to make area safer, more beautiful

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2014 Updated Aug 24, 2014 at 11:42 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Those who attended the 5th annual Hillfest in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood Sunday had their share of family–friendly fun to partake in—from rock climbing to playing catch with Duluth Police.

Event founder and Central Hillside community member, Archie Davis, said the event was started 5 years ago to connect those in a neighborhood that wasn't getting the positive attention he says it deserves.

"You know, we wanted to stop the traffic and host an event so people understand that we are a community as well," said Davis, standing in the midst of a growing Central Hillside crowd.

Since then, Davis says expansions by Whole Foods Co–op and Super America have helped improve the neighborhood's image.

But on Tuesday, Davis says that image was hurt when 21–year–old Abraham Lamin was shot by a group of men near the Co–op. That's the second shooting in the neighborhood this year.

"We're saying 'enough is enough,'" said Davis. "We don't want to be labeled as just Central Hillside. We want to be labeled as a community that you can come and live in, and be safe in."

Beautifying a community doesn't have to be complicated. Organizers say you'd be surprised what a difference having grass on the ground makes.

"It makes a more welcoming environment," Josh Gorham, a Public Health Nurse for St. Louis County, "It makes you want to be out and about in it more."

Gorham says it's important that community members have a means of being heard, which is why Hillfest offers a comment board for neighbors to voice what they feel the community needs most.

"What we're looking for is just what's going to get people out on the street, using it more," said Gorham, "what's going to make them feel welcome here."

...comments that will be addressed in the coming months and years, as the reconstruction of 4th St. from 6th Ave. E. takes shape.

Organizers say hundreds of community members took part in Sunday's event.

Billy wagness