Duluth Council to Vote Monday on Leaving Lakewalk’s Missing Link Disconnected

Councilors say the shoreline behind the Ledges and Beacon Pointe is too washed out to try and make changes.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth City Council is expected to vote on whether to scrap plans to connect a missing link to the popular Lakewalk behind some shoreline properties.

At their last meeting two weeks ago, the council tabled the resolution that would reallocate $915,695 in FEMA funds.

Those funds were granted to repair the 2018 storm-damaged trail behind the Ledges Townhomes on Water Street, and build a pedestrian trail behind the Beacon Pointe Condominiums, connecting to the Lakewalk.

But to sustainably repair that trail to survive future storms, like what is being done in Canal Park, would require an additional $1.5 million paid by taxpayers according to city councilors.

“Especially with the city’s financial situation, spending $1.5 million of local tax money at a time in that we have other needs for that FEMA money was something that I don’t think we can justify,” Councilor Joel Sipress said.

The resolution proposes to instead use the FEMA money for shoreline restoration at Brighton Beach and the Marten Trail.

According to Sipress, the Second District councilor, the shoreline behind the Ledges and Beacon Pointe has been so battered by the changing lake, that it wouldn’t be feasible to try and make changes.

“Climate change is confronting us with all sorts of hard decisions,” said the councilor.

“And if we don’t all, both here locally and around the world, start taking climate change more seriously, we’re gonna be facing way more hard decisions like this in the future,” he said.

The resolution was tabled at the last meeting, Sipress said, after Friends of the Lakewalk (FOTL) said the council didn’t give them proper notice.

Since then, according to Sipress, some of those FOTL members went on a walk-around of that waterfront.

After seeing the damage he said they are starting to see the difficulty with working along that shoreline.

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