St. Louis County Partners with Minnesota Organization to Deconstruct Properties in Duluth

St. Louis County has partnered with one Minnesota organization to help deconstruct tax-forfeited and blighted properties in the Duluth area. 

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Louis County has partnered with one Minnesota organization to help deconstruct tax-forfeited and blighted properties in the Duluth area.

They are not only helping the environment but are also providing opportunities for those who need it.

St. Louis County, along with Better Futures Minnesota, is working to deconstruct several properties in Duluth.

The process will remove raw materials, which include lumber, windows, and hardwood flooring. Those items in turn will be up for sale for other projects.

As an organization, Better Futures employs men who were previously incarcerated and gives them an opportunity filled with both hope and a future.

“It’s amazing they help us,” said Melvin Stewart, a job site foreman. “How they help guide us in the right direction. A person already has to want to do some change and stuff like that but being in a program like this, it makes it 10 times easier.”

Melvin Stewart is a job site foreman and has been working with Better Futures for the past year or so.

He says that having a job like this one is beneficial and he is grateful for the skills he has learned along the way.

“They’re real full comprehensive program,” said Stewart. “I like everything that I do in my job pretty much. I mean, helping guys out, teaching guys the stuff I know, even the learning part when I was first learning about deconstruction.”

One of the properties in the deconstruction process is the forfeited two-story house on South 62nd Ave. West build in 1906.

Inspections of the building determined that it had reached the end of its useful life, which allowed the workers to strip it of any valuable resources.

Leadership from Better Futures say they are happy to have the chance to benefit different aspects of society.

“It’s a wonderful feeling honestly,” said Alex Baldwin, the business manager for deconstruction services for Better Futures Minnesota. “In terms of what we’re doing, there’s environmental benefits, social benefits and I feel we’re definitely helping out the community.”

And those with the county are grateful to have Better Futures working alongside them for this project.

“Our results have been really good,” said Christopher Johnson, a planner for the county. “Better futures at this point the product that they’re putting out there as far as training and being able to come in and deconstruct things, we see it getting better and better.”

When the deconstruction process is complete, St. Louis County will receive a clean site, and it should be noted, two other properties are also in the deconstruction process in St. Louis County.


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