I attended the Downtown Duluth Annual Meeting & Celebration last night at the Harborside Ballroom at Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Much of the discussion centered on how we can improve downtown, as the downtown is the heart of any community.

City Of Duluth
City Of Duluth
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Mayor Roger Reinert was one of the speakers, and he laid out plans and goals for the future of Duluth's downtown. He had some interesting perspectives and facts that he provided.

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Duluth's Downtown isn't the only city facing challenges since the pandemic.

Cities across the country are facing the same problems that Duluth is regarding their downtown areas. We can look at what is working in other cities and implement those plans here.

Greysolon Plaza in Downtown Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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Reinert says more residents downtown is a big part of the solution.

A big part of his plan is to bring in more residents to downtown Duluth. Hundreds of units are ready or soon will be ready to lease. He brought up St. Cloud as an answer and how they are striving to have 15% of their population be residing in their Downtown. If we take those numbers and apply them to Duluth, that would be 1500 people.

Historic Central High School in Downtown Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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More people downtown means more retail, restaurants, and a more vibrant community.

The more people you have living in Downtown will help lower crime rates and increase safety. He mentioned that crime usually happens in places out of sight. The more people you have out and about, the better. You have more eyes on the street, and that can help.

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The trend in many communities is for people to want to live within walking distance to work and entertainment in a city's downtown. That means more shops, restaurants, entertainment businesses, and other retail.

Maurices building in Downtown Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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The fastest growing residential district in Minneapolis is downtown.

Minneapolis has faced huge problems with their Downtown during and since the pandemic. They have begun to turn things around according to Reinert, and he says that their downtown is coming alive again with the fastest residential growth. That's something we should strive for in Duluth.

It could help solve the family housing shortage.

There is a shortage of homes for families to buy in Duluth. Reinert says he's the perfect example of how the housing shortage could be fixed.

I'm a single dude with a dog, in a three bedroom, two bathroom house on the hillside. Moving downtown would open up a house like mine for a family to purchase.

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Gallery Credit: Aubrey Jane McClaine