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DULUTH - Members of the community gathered to celebrate the success of renovation projects in Duluth's core neighborhoods, Wednesday.
The next phase of the "At Home Duluth Revitalization Plan" focuses on local businesses and resident education.
Connecting the Dots is a 24-member collaborative that has been working over the past five years to transform Duluth's neighborhoods.
From parks and schools to businesses districts, the initiative is looking to make Duluth a more attractive place to work and live.
"The beautification of the neighborhood is something that's been one of the goals with L.I.S.C. in the community. It helps attract people to the area and of course, it helps to keep the business open," said Mike Lattery, Senior Business Developer of The Entrepreneur Fund.
"We have had some great economic development success stories recently. In which, private companies are creating hundreds of new jobs and investing in our core downtown and investing in our business district," said Mayor Don Ness.
The city of Duluth and the local initiatives support corporation hope to develop and invest in both the neighborhoods and its people.
Resident education and resource centers are a central part of the plan.
One of the programs in place helps residents file their tax returns for free.
"You can save yourself $200, $300, $400 that you would otherwise be paying to a commercial tax preparer. It's not only a 22-50 percent boost of a family's annual income, but that money comes back into our community. So it's an economic stimulant to our local community," said Julia Cheng, tax advisor with Community Action Duluth.
It's programs like these that help residents towards financial stability and spending flexibility.
"By investing in these neighborhoods, encouraging folks to invest in their homes and their work skills we're going to be a more vibrant community because of it," said Ness.
Ness says it is an on-going process and that collaborations such as these are key to transforming Duluth into a thriving city.