In his State of the City address this week, Duluth Mayor Don Ness turned his focus away from Lake Superior, the city's most famous body of water. He suggested that investment in the St. Louis River could greatly improve his city's prospects.
He suggested that a revitalized riverfront on the west side of Duluth would be a magnet for both tourists and new residents.
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"This is about saving these neighborhoods, this is about giving attention to a part of town that has felt neglected for many decades," he said. "Once completed, this vision will bring hundreds of thousands of new visitors to Duluth, hundreds of young families will buy homes in the area, and a new generation of active retirees will find that the St. Louis River communities have everything they're looking for at an affordable price."
Ness wants to invest between $15 million and $18 million in west Duluth by extending a recently expired half-percent food and lodging tax that was used to help transform Canal Park in Duluth from an industrial zone to a major tourist destination. That money would fund more canoe and boat access to the St. Louis River, expand biking and hiking trails, and improve parks and tourist attractions like Spirit Mountain and the Lake Superior Zoo.
His proposal comes as continuing efforts to clean up the river hit a snag with the proposed defunding of the Great Lakes Initiative. On The Daily Circuit, we look at Ness' proposal and the likelihood of more resources for the city's river.