Downtown Duluth Businesses Prepare for 2018 Reconstruction

A Series of Informational Meetings will Take Place, Hosted by the City of Duluth and Greater Downtown Council

DULUTH, Minn. – It’s official, Superior Street in Downtown Duluth will be torn up starting in 2018.

The City recently received $15 million dollars from the state bonding bill and will open bidding up in January.

City officials say the project will cost nearly $23 million dollars to complete.

With funding figured out, the conversation now centers on how local businesses will be impacted.

“We care deeply about your business; we care deeply about your investments,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.

The vibrant hustle and bustle starts early every day downtown.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience for the last few years as we have talked about this,” said Larson.

Within the next year, Superior Street will be waking up to construction chaos.

“It’s great to be able to see people from all areas of Superior Street,” said Kristi Stokes, President of the Greater Downtown Council.

Stokes knows communication during the project will be key for the future of downtown businesses.

“This isn’t just about Superior Street, the project is Superior Street but it is really going to affect a broad part of our community,” said Stokes.

She along with various community leaders are joining forces before bricks are broken up.

“If we can all work together, this is going to be the best way to work through this project,” said Stokes.

Phase one of the reconstruction is set to start near Mesaba Avenue, and finish near Third Avenue West.

Organizers hope to have everything fixed up temporarily before the holiday season begins in November.

“It’s going to happen so we’re going to have to do the best we can,” said William Oswald, Manager of Consolidated Title and Abstract Co.

Oswald knows the next few years could be fickle for downtown customers.

“We’re a destination company so we’re going to have to have people know that they can get there and how they can get there,” said Oswald.

With listening sessions such as the one Wednesday morning, the City and Greater Downtown Council hope some of the worry can be pushed to the wayside.

“Getting the word out that we’re still open for business will be key,” said Oswald.

“We won’t have disruption in more than one avenue at a time so that people can get to one end of the block or the other,” said Keith Hamre,
Director of Planning and Construction Services for the City of Duluth.

Right now, city officials are looking for ways to combat parking problems. Displaying new signage in skywalks and on nearby roadways is also in the works.

“There’s good ideas that come out of sessions like this when you have everybody together that they might be saying, have you been thinking about this, or what about this for my business,” said Stokes.

“We will continue to prioritize this project,” said Larson.

Paving a path for economic and developmental growth in the greater downtown area.

“This is a whole downtown experience and we are all in it together,” said Larson.

Project organizers with the City say they are looking to convert all of the one way avenues in downtown to two way roads.

If all goes as planned, crews will break ground in April 2018.

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