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The Duluth City Council agreed Monday night to continue to discuss a couple of issues that appear far from resolved: how best to encourage high-density development in the city and whether the rules that govern vacation rental properties need to be revamped. Development
Cheryl Champion of Solon Springs describes herself as a member of “the working-class poor” and said that if not for the Lake Superior Community Health Care Center, her struggles with diabetes and heart disease likely would have landed her in the hospital. “There are many people in our community who work at that just-below-getting-insurance level like me. We’re sort of stuck, and that’s why people stop going to the doctor. Or they start taking their meds every other day,” she said.
The Duluth City Council will decide Monday night how much they should charge the likes of Uber and Lyft to do business in the city. Just two weeks ago, the same body passed an ordinance establishing the rules of the road for ridesharing services — also called transportation network companies — to operate in Duluth. Establishing an appropriate fee, however, poses a bit of a challenge, according to David Montgomery, Duluth's chief administrative officer.
More tall buildings soon could be coming to Duluth if At Large City Councilor Zack Filipovich has his way. On Monday, the Duluth City Council is expected to take up a resolution that directs city staff to embrace more multi-story, high-density development as a strategy to preserve green space, protect views and avoid urban sprawl. "I don't see how we can substantially grow our city and at the same time not expand our utility infrastructure without having more dense and taller buildings in areas," said Filipovich, who introduced the resolution.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken is the first to acknowledge: “You can never arrest your way out of a drug problem.” However, he said tougher enforcement is playing an important role in the city’s efforts to suppress a rising tide of opioid addiction. Tusken recently shared some stats with members of the Duluth City Council that confirm the police department’s heightened actions to help stem the flow of heroin and illicit prescription opioids.
More than 300 St. Louis County residents will converge on the state capitol Wednesday to advocate for legislative support of projects and programs that could benefit the Northland. They will welcome lawmakers to the annual Duluth and St. Louis County Days at the Capitol, hosting a reception that will likely draw more than 500 people this year, predicted David Ross, president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.
Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft likely soon will be coming to Duluth. By a 7-1 vote — with 5th District Councilor Jay Fosle alone in his dissent and At Large Councilor Elissa Hansen absent — the council adopted an ordinance, laying out new rules for transportation network companies. Dean Hanson, operator of Yellow Door Taxi, suggested transportation network companies should be held to the same standards as local taxicab businesses and charged identical fees. He told councilors that he felt he was being set up to fail by the ordinance passed Monday.
The Duluth City Council could vote Monday to adopt a new ordinance that would give a green light for transportation network companies — such as Uber and Lyft — to do business in the city. But Council President Joel Sipress announced Thursday his intention to tap the brakes, in an effort to delay the new TNC ordinance at least temporarily.
Local developers Alex Giuliani and Sandy Hoff received a nod from the Duluth Economic Development Authority Wednesday night to flesh out their plans for how to reuse Lot D, a 12-acre piece of the city's downtown waterfront. By a unanimous vote, DEDA commissioners approved an agreement granting the Hoff-Giuliani team — doing business as the Lot D Holding Co. — an option that could give it until April 30, 2018 to pull together a development agreement that everyone can support.
The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation has hired former state legislator and Duluth city councilor Roger Reinert as its new vice president. Foundation President Holly Sampson said Reinert fills a newly created position that was necessitated by the expanding scope of the charity's work. The organization serves 10 counties in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin and its mission is to "promote private giving for the public good." Since its inception in 1983, the foundation has given away more than $50 million.