‘Making Canal Park Pop’ Means Closures and Changes

Officials Highlight Changes Part of 'Imagine Duluth'

DULUTH, Minn.-┬áDuluth’s top tourist hot spot known as Canal Park is about to undergo some big changes next month involving traffic and community spaces.

It’s all part of a pilot project with the city’s Imagine Duluth initiative.

The city won a Knight Cities Challenge grant of over $200,000 to implement these changes, which the city says is sure to bring in more locals and “Make Canal Park Pop.”

The Imagine Canal Park project officially kicked off with the installation of way-finding signage on Canal Park Dr. and Buchanan St.

But even more developments are yet to come.

City officials say the project was born from feedback from the Duluth community.

“We hear from locals that they don’t like to come to Canal Park during the summer months because it’s hard to get around,” said Adam Fulton, Community Planning Manager. “We’re trying to come up with solutions to alleviate traffic, and to allow for getting here by alternative means.”

The heart of the project is Lake Ave. S., leading up to the lift bridge. Rather than traffic stopped when the lift bridge is up, an extra 3 lanes will be added, freeing up left turns so employees of canal park businesses can get where they need to go quicker.

But this does mean the loss of some parking, a risk Canal Park businesses are willing to take.

“The hope is that the reconstruction of South Lake Ave. can alleviate traffic congestion enough that it balances out some of the net loss of parking,” said Canal Park Business Association President Matt Baumgartner. “Certainly there’s cautious optimism, but optimism nonetheless.”

The changes don’t stop there. As another significant closure will be made to make room for a pedestrian plaza.

“The creation of Buchanan Plaza on Buchanan Street,” said Fulton. “And so for the duration of that work on Lake Ave S, Buchanan St. will be closed. That’s to test having a plaza expanding the pedestrian amenities and space for people to just hang out right in front of Little Angie’s and DeWitt Seitz.”

Finally, the Lighthouse Parking Lot next to the marine museum will be converted into a pop up family fun zone. Out go the cars, and in will go a large sandbox, games, music, and more. A safe area for adults and kids alike to enjoy the sights and sounds of the lake.

All plans to re-energize and revitalize the lakeside locale.

Officials say that the changes will start being in effect in September. While the Lake Ave. construction will last the whole month, Buchanan street and Lighthouse Lot will change for just two weeks of the month. Officials say feedback is appreciated, which you can provide at bit.ly/imagineCP .

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