Special Task Force Held Another Meeting To Discuss Ways To Revitalize Downtown Duluth
A 14-member Downtown Task Force that was announced back in March by Duluth Mayor Emily Larson met for the fourth time to discuss a variety of topics to help revitalize downtown Duluth. Some of the topics discussed were establishing a type of neighborhood watch program, having better prosecution of petty crimes, and funding public art projects along with promoting public safety.
According to the Duluth News Tribune (Paywall) Mayor Larson stated at a news conference at the new Lake Superior Plaza: "Our goal here is to really fill spaces with people. We have a gorgeous, incredible downtown that was set up for thousands of more people a day than we see currently. Some of that is here to stay because we know the pandemic has changed how many people are working."
One of the items on this revitalization plan is a local neighborhood watch with an extra set of eyes and ears patrolling the downtown area. Mayor Larson said the city has plans to work with the Downtown YMCA and employment partners to establish walking groups along sidewalks and skywalks during peak times like lunch hour.
The city will also be hiring an additional Prosecutor to help alleviate the workload now being done by only four other people. As far as businesses in the downtown area Kristi Stokes, president of Downtown Duluth's Greater Downtown Council said: " Last week we had Sidewalk Days, and I think there was a much different feel in our downtown because of that," Stokes said. "You had people out on the street, you had interactions with the businesses, there were vendors, it was lively, there was music. And that's what it's all about. It's about bringing back the downtown and bringing activity back to the downtown."
Realistically downtown Duluth businesses may never be in as large a number as the pre-pandemic, but that is the case in cities all over the country. What I personally like to see as a resident of Duluth and someone who works downtown is the effort being put forth to make it a safe and welcoming place to work and shop, supporting other local businesses.