Plans to Revamp Cloquet’s Riverfront

Cloquet's Plan to Make St. Louis River Focal Point of City

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The city of Cloquet is one of the few places lucky enough to have a river running through town.

But, right now, it doesn’t give people who live there the feeling of a “river town.”

The city hired a consulting firm to draw up a plan to revamp the city’s parks.

Last week, the firm was up in Cloquet for three days, meeting with a citizen’s committee, made up of about 25 community members, to complete a master plan to make the riverfront a more accessible attraction in the community.

“The riverfront, clearly, is a big component of our community with the river running through it,” said Cloquet City Administrator, Brian Fritsinger.

The St. Louis River flows through the many parks of Cloquet.

“The city of Cloquet has always had a history of fabulous parks,” said Dan Lundquist, Owner of Gordy’s Hi-Hat.

Parks that, right now, look like pretty much like your average park.

But one simple question, could transform them completely .

“How do we make these parks, and these park areas, more usable for the community?” asked Fritsinger.

The initial stages of the plan include adding trails, monuments, and an amphitheater at Veteran’s Park.

“This is a park, it’s Veteran’s Park. Establishing the fact, instead of just looking at this big, empty field right now, you know you’re home, you’re at this park,” said Fritsinger.

Further, building kayak shops and picnic shelters on Dunlap Island.

And, even constructing a unique ribbon–skating area.

“The trail would be constructed such that it’s got curbing in the summer, but then in the winter we could flood it, and then you would basically be able to skate that trail,” Fritsinger explained.

Sitting right off Highway 33, Cloquet sees lots of tourism traffic.

“Right now, when you come through town, you just kind of blow through,” Fritsinger admitted. “And we see this as an opportunity for people, if done correctly, where they’ll think ‘Hey, this is a great place to stop.’”

City officials say increased access to the riverfront would draw in crowds, and allow for local businesses to prosper.

“Any access to the river, I think, enhances recreation here,” Lundquist stated.

And, for residents and tourists alike, to better enjoy nature’s beauty.

This plan is in its very beginning stages.

No changes will be seen this year, but starting next year, in 2016, expect to see the beginning stages of work. The project is expected to come in phases over the next 5 to 6 years.

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