DECC Needs New Energy, New Use Of Spaces Inside — And Outside, Says New Exec. Dir.

Exec. Dir. Dan Hartman has his eyes on Harbor Drive behind the DECC for live entertainment, food trucks and special events, among other ideas.

DULUTH, Minn. – Excitement is building at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center as its new executive director of just a few weeks is already brainstorming ways to bring new energy to spaces within the DECC – and especially outside.

Hartman, who most recently had a successful eight-year run rethinking the experience at Glensheen Mansion, says the level of opportunities at the DECC are “phenomenal.”

And one big opportunity is the so-called backyard of the DECC along Harbor Drive with an immediate backdrop of the Lift Bridge.

Hartman is envisioning Harbor Drive shut down at times for concerts and movies on the plaza, food trucks lined up and the current patio overlooking the plaza flipped to a green space with relaxing seating.

Hartman believes this outside real-estate needs to be marketed more when booking events inside the DECC.

“How amazing will that be if you’re at a convention and the speaker series is immediately adjacent to the Lift Bridge outside in the summer? There’s nowhere else in Minnesota that can have that type of convention experience. We can here at the DECC,” Hartman said.

Meanwhile, Hartman is exploring ways to use unique spaces within the DECC that most people never knew existed, like a corner seating area with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the harbor, complete with the original chandelier from when the DECC was built in the 1960s.

“This room we’re in right now I bet most Duluthians haven’t been in here for decades, but this mezzanine is gorgeous and has one of the best views of the Lift Bridge, I would say, in Duluth and I’m excited to show this off to a whole crew of people who haven’t seen this before,” Hartman said.

And since the pandemic, by the way, the DECC is back up to about 100 or so employees between the DECC, William A. Irvin and Bayfront Festival Park.  They are also currently hiring, including Zamboni drivers.

We’ll have more on this story Sunday on FOX 21 Local News at 9 p.m.

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