Change can be a good thing.  At least that's what community leaders are hoping as they plot the future for downtown Duluth.

At their annual meeting on August 16, the Greater Downtown Council welcomed nearly 500 people to the DECC Arena for a cocktail hour and social, dinner, awards and speeches, and music.  They also unveiled a new name - a brand that they hope will better convey the mission of the organization.

Moving forward, the Greater Downtown Council will now be known as Downtown Duluth.  President of (the now) Downtown Duluth Kristi Stokes shared:

"This change simplifies our name and more clearly identifies the area that we serve.  At times there was confusion that we were perhaps part of the city council.  And our name didn't reflect the city that we served."

In her speech to the crowd of business and government leaders, Stokes provided both updates to the current challenges the downtown area faces as well as positive plans for the future.  The President of Downtown Duluth also offered accolades to the staffers, volunteers, and community members who have worked together to make sure that the business sector of Duluth doesn't get left behind.

Prior to Stokes taking the podium, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson also offered her words of encouragement for the downtown business district.  She also provided a shot or two of realism - calling out the fact that the pandemic has hit the downtown area especially hard.  She also acknowledged that the city recognizes "the empty storefronts", crime, and societal social problems that make headlines downtown.  The Mayor offered that city leaders - both government, volunteer, and organizations like Downtown Duluth - are working towards finding solutions to solve those issues.

Even with a new name, Downtown Duluth's mission remains the same.  And, the organization has big shoes to continue filling.  According to Business North:

"Downtown Duluth manages more than 90 blocks throughout the commercial business district, from Canal Park to Second Street.  It serves as an advocate for the business community and also offers highly visible programs, such as the Clean and Safe Team as well as popular events like the Sidewalk Days Festival and Movies In The Park."

Tuesday night's Annual Dinner had been planned to be an outdoor event - similar to last year - in Bayfront Festival Park.  However, a sudden change in the weather caused organizers to go with "Plan B", hosting the evening in the DECC Arena.

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