Survey says Duluth's downtown is more inviting and appealing

By KBJR News 1

October 4, 2013 Updated Oct 4, 2013 at 10:34 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The downtown district of any city is the most vital area, drawing tourists and locals alike. Several key factors are involved in making that happen.

A new downtown survey says businesses and neighbors are pleased with the way their area is shaping up.

Downtown Duluth offers amenities for just about anyone.

An abundance of shops, restaurants and entertainment, people are seeing the possibilities.

"Downtown Duluth has a lot of potential, definitely with the old architecture and a lot of history."

A recent survey conducted by the Greater Downtown Council shows the area is heading in the right direction.

45% of people surveyed say downtown Duluth has become more inviting and appealing in the past few months with 39% saying the area is safer.

While another 30% of people surveyed say their retail sales have increased.

One of those booming businesses is Coney Island, where manager Joel Graff says retail sales have been stellar.

"At Coney Island we've had anywhere from a low of four percent to a high of 38 percent growth from year to year," said Coney Island, manager Joel Graff.

Megan Marolt with Lake Superior Art Glass says the recent upswing in the Downtown area is due in part to the temporary shutdown of the Last Place on Earth.

"People are more willing to walk the streets up here when there aren't seven cop cars and a bunch of people lined down the street, people stray away from that," said Marolt.

With Graff crediting the turnaround to the partnership between new and old Downtown neighbors.

"Helping each other, we partner with a lot of the companies in the area and there are more businesses down here, there's a younger vibe to the area with Tycoons coming in, other retail going in," said Graff.

And whether it's new business or the shuttering of one, many agree, Duluth's downtown is turning around.

The Greater Downtown Council agrees the reduction in problems in the Downtown area to the temporary closure of the Last Place on Earth since the survey was taken.

Jeremy Brickley
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