You hear from many people how certain elements of downtown Duluth have changed in recent years, and not for the better. I have seen it myself as our studios are located within the Holiday Center, with street-level windows facing Superior Street.

Don't get me wrong, I  love most aspects of working downtown as it's convenient to visit local businesses and there are plenty of great food and drink options. However, lately, I've witnessed things that, unfortunately, make the area seem less safe, especially at night.

While sitting in the studio, I've had people walk by alone while screaming obscenities at nobody in particular. I've seen people dig through garbage cans, pass out, relieve themselves on the street, sleep inside the skywalk, and act unstable.

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The City of Duluth, and new Mayor Roger Reinert are also aware of what's been happening in downtown Duluth and this week they addressed the situation and what's being done about it.

Just What Is Being Done To Adress Downtown Duluth & Skywalk Safety?

In a March 20 press release, Mayor Roger Reinert said his focus on downtown Duluth and that public safety is a top priority as “a clean and safe downtown is the canvas on which a thriving downtown is created."

He notes that since taking office, the Duluth Police Department has taken several steps to concentrate its focus on safety downtown, including:

  • Bolstering efforts within the CORE, SURT, and CE-POP unit teams to allow its members to focus on safety issues more specific to the downtown population while better connecting those facing social disorder issues with the resources and services they need.
  • Increasing foot patrols in the downtown Skywalk system and on downtown streets
  • Enforcing individuals entering roadways to solicit contributions from passing motorists.
  • Working with city administration and the city attorney’s office to identify additional safety measures and gaps in our municipal code that might further assist in addressing the social disorder issues that exist in downtown Duluth.
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Duluth Police Chief Mike Ceynowa says those actions are a perfect example of how the Duluth Police Department has been proactive in addressing community safety issues in downtown Duluth and inside the Skywalk system.

Nick Cooper/TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper/TSM Duluth

Duluth City Attorney Jessica Fralich reiterated that sentiment while also stating that the City is "actively evaluating new strategies to implement in the downtown district while also continuing those that are tried and true, like the addition of prosecutors to our office.”

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Downtown Duluth?

As one of many who work and frequent downtown Duluth, it's refreshing to hear that city officials are well aware of the issues that are present and that they are focused on improving the area.

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Mayor Reindert says public safety efforts will continue to develop as they evaluate city codes and identify ways to better support the efforts of our police, firefighters, and social workers. As long as the focus remains, there is real hope that the issues that exist in downtown Duluth will fade and visitors can once again focus on all the good things that exist in the area.

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