City Council to look at Lakewalk Trail proposals

By KBJR News 1

January 27, 2014 Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 7:42 PM CDT

If you've traveled the Lakewalk going east from downtown Duluth, you may have found yourself on a street instead of the trail after a couple miles.
A controversial resolution to keep people on the right path is going before the Duluth City Council tonight.

It all starts with confusion about where to go when the Lakewalk turns into a street.

"There is some confusion when you get to the end of the Lakewalk to get to the next section of the Lakewalk." Said Beacon Point Condos Resident Amanda Thralow.

It's this confusion that has generated several ideas to solve the problem.

A public works and utilities committee will present an application to connect the Trail to Water Street. That proposed plan would cost about 300 thousand dollars with a federal grant paying for about 200 thousand of it.

"That would make that connection on the upper side of water street, make it safe, get people off the street, be eligible for this federal grant that will pay for the majority of trail reconstruction and that's what we should commit to." Said Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

But some Duluth residents are pushing for a more expensive plan that would keep the Lakewalk running alongside the lake.
Duluth resident Alison Clark has been pushing for a lakeside trail since before construction of the condos and has said those plans should be looked at more closely.

"These things are possible, the public, the city council ought to have an opportunity to see those, consider those, engage dialogue about them prior to any action." Said Proponent of a Closer Lakewalk Plan, Alison Clark.

But that plan would be much more expensive and Mayor Ness calls the idea fiscally irresponsible.

"Money is an object that we have to be aware of and especially when you have so many park and trail interests and demands, the expenditure of over one million dollars to build a couple blocks of trails." Said Ness.

Some of those living in the condominiums behind which the Lakewalk could run, see both sides of the issue.

"for the person who's walking along it would be much nicer to be able to be next to the lake the whole time, for the people who live here, I think the Lakewalk would be extraordinarily close to the decks of the people who live here, it might even be uncomfortably close, but it would be lovely to walk along there." Said Thralow

Much for the city council to consider.

We will continue to follow this issue at the City Council meeting tonight.

Bryce Henry