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The Canal Park Brewing Company in Duluth recently was honored by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota for successfully cleaning up and revitalizing the contaminated site where the restaurant and brewery now stand. (2012 file / News Tribune)

Canal Park Brewing Company in Duluth honored for redevelopment

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business Duluth,Minnesota 55802
Duluth News Tribune
Canal Park Brewing Company in Duluth honored for redevelopment
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

The kudos keep coming for the Canal Park Brewing Company.

The Duluth business has received another statewide award for efforts by its owners -- Rockie Kavajecz and his family -- to clean up the old industrial dump site in Canal Park and redevelop it into a new brewpub that's a draw for tourists, local residents and beer lovers.


The latest accolade was the Redevelopment Award from the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, presented during its winter conference in late January in Brooklyn Park, Minn. The brewpub was recognized for the owners' creativity in revitalizing a vacant, contaminated site that had become an eyesore.

The result was a new restaurant and craft brewery along the Lakewalk that fits in with Canal Park's older brick buildings and industrial past.

It was among several projects in the state being honored.

The 8,500-square-foot, $6 million brewpub was built in 2012 on the former Duluth Spring Co. manufacturing site on Canal Park Drive next to the Canal Park Lodge. But the site's lead contamination stemmed back to the early 1900s when it was an industrial dump.

To help pay for the $600,000 cleanup, the Kavajecz family, the city of Duluth and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development teamed up to win a $417,000 state cleanup grant.

"As any business owner knows, there is a great deal of risk and a new crop of gray hairs involved in opening a business," Tracy Uttley, a member of the Kavajecz family, said after accepting the award. "It feels really nice to have all those efforts recognized by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota."

The brewpub's other awards include a Minnesota Brownsfield ReScape Award last fall, also for redeveloping the contaminated site. The nonprofit promotes the efficient cleanup and reuse of contaminated land, with its awards given to projects around the state with outstanding results in revitalizing formerly contaminated land.