Duluth Task Force Helping Address Safety Downtown

DULUTH, Minn. — Downtown Duluth has so much to offer from the bar and restaurant scene, to live performances at different venues, and Mayor Larson has assembled a task force to continue developing downtown with four main areas of focus: safety, activation, investment and vision.

The announcement of the task force comes at the perfect time as it falls during “Get Downtown Week” where various stores are offering deals to help celebrate local businesses and customers that invest in them. But lately some business owners have expressed concern with the issue of feeling safe downtown.

“From the city advantage we know and understand when someone’s establishing a business, it is deeply personal. That is their vision, that’s their investment that is what they’re passionate about. And it’s important that they feel safe and supported and that their customer base does too,” Mayor Larson said.

“I think those are all things, we think it’s so important to be hearing from those businesses and hearing from the customers too because we all want to make it a better place,” Kristi Stokes, President of The Greater Downtown Council said.

A few things the task force has worked on to address the issue of safety downtown, is bringing awareness to some of the mental services offered to those who might need it, increased police patrolling, and addressing dangerous situations with the correct law enforcement and legal response teams.

As this issue is addressed, the hope is to make more people feel comfortable and safe to visit the downtown again.

“Bringing people back is a wonderful thing it will increase safety and increase the perception of safety, but you also have to have solutions for folks who are struggling and are falling through the cracks,” Shaun Floerke, President and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation said.

Aside from the safety, there are also investments being made in the cleanliness of the city now, and for the future too.

“We have increased our clean and safe patrols throughout the skywalk system, the police department, we are working with them very closely, overtime patrols in the skywalk system, around the ramps, were focused on some of the cleanliness as well because everyone knows if you see something that’s been taken care of and being cleaned, it’s also feeling safer because you know someone is taking care of it,” Stokes added.

As the task force continues to address safety downtown, they do want to hear from businesses if there are any further concerns.

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