Our view: LISC loved over lunchDuluth’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation is the nation’s smallest, but it’s one the national office points to with pride because of all it has accomplished, Michael Levine, LISC’s vice president and general counsel, said Wednesday after traveling from New York to attend the Duluth LISC’s annual luncheon, held this year at Clyde Iron.
Duluth’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation is the nation’s smallest, but it’s one the national office points to with pride because of all it has accomplished, Michael Levine, LISC’s vice president and general counsel, said Wednesday after traveling from New York to attend the Duluth LISC’s annual luncheon, held this year at Clyde Iron.
“It’s the collaboration and cooperation (here),” he said. “It’s the loud-and-clear message of the importance of working together and respecting one another. … Duluth is one community, indivisible.”
Duluth LISC is a big part of that, Levine and other speakers said. Since 1997, Duluth LISC has helped to bring to and invest in Duluth $74.7 million. Its focus long has been the redevelopment of and the creation of opportunities in some of Duluth’s poorest neighborhoods, specifically East Hillside, Central Hillside, Lincoln Park, West Duluth and Morgan Park.
In 2012 alone, Duluth LISC, among other accomplishments, provided $854,500 for neighborhood revitalization and to address Duluth’s need for affordable housing; supported the creation of 112 permanent and supportive housing units at Hillside Apartments, Fire House Flats Apartments, and the Gimaajii; increased to $550,000 the investment in Community Action Duluth’s Financial Opportunity Center, which has helped 480 people secure employment and receive financial services; co-administered with the city a Duluth at Work program to help the unemployed find jobs and to help small businesses increase revenue; loaned $1.1 million to Sherman Associates for the redevelopment of the NorShor Theater and the former Lincoln Park elementary school; and received $40,000 from the national LISC for local flood recovery.
“Our work is about more than just numbers,” Levine said. “It’s about real and positive change in people’s lives.”
The work LISC does helps make Duluth more attractive for development and private investment, Mayor Don Ness said. Its activities foster cooperation, collaboration, compromise and community resiliency, he said, all positive qualities that were especially on display following last June’s devastating floods.
“We in Duluth are proud to have LISC as a strong local partner,” the mayor said.
“Duluth has absolutely the best community support,” Twin Cities developer George Sherman of Sherman Associates said after receiving a Building Healthy Communities award at Wednesday’s luncheon. “Duluth is, contradictory to the weather outside, the warmest city.”