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After years of planning and 16 months of construction, the renovation of Duluth's historic NorShor Theatre is finally nearing completion. It has been a challenging project by all accounts. "There was an extraordinary amount of reconstruction work that was unforeseen, and we definitely hit Duluth rock, so we had to manage that," said Rich Kiemen, senior vice president of construction for Sherman Associates, which redeveloped the building and now owns it.
Two candidates with starkly different views of the proper role of local government will square off in the race for the 2nd District Duluth City Council seat Nov. 7. Incumbent Councilor Joel Sipress, a 53-year-old history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, faces a challenge from Ryan Sistad, a 23-year-old project manager and estimator for Parsons Electric LLC.
The four candidates jockeying for two At Large seats on the Duluth City Council are united in their concern over the sorry state of Duluth's streets, and they universally endorse Mayor Emily Larson's proposal to raise the local sales tax by a half percent to pay for improvements. That tax — if approved by local voters and the Minnesota Legislature — would generate an anticipated $7 million per year.
Supporters of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad, an all-volunteer scenic rail service that runs through Duluth's westernmost neighborhoods, made the case Tuesday for granting "local landmark" status to the line which could soon be significantly truncated. At a meeting of Duluth's Heritage Preservation Commission, railroad volunteers stressed the historical significance of the line, which began operating in 1870, providing the first rail service between Duluth and the Twin Cities.
The Duluth City Council may have opted not to receive a report Monday night from a specially appointed task force that was to make some recommendations regarding a prospective earned-sick-and-safe-time policy, but the topic dominated much of the evening's meeting nevertheless.
The Lake Superior Zoo let go of about one-third of its staff Monday, as its new director, Sen. Erik Simonson, seeks to financially stabilize the operation. Simonson said the zoo is eliminating 12 positions, including two that are currently unfilled — a full-time zookeeper job and a part-time maintenance worker. In all, 10 people received word their services would no longer be needed at the zoo. The cuts affected three full-time employees — two in marketing and one in a maintenance position — and seven part-time employees, all working in maintenance roles.
Duluth and Cloquet both received word this week that they will receive the key funding they need to move ahead with a couple of multi-million dollar apartment projects: • Minnesota Housing will invest more than $8.1 million and provide nearly $3.6 million in tax credit equity to help Center City Housing Corp. build Garfield Square Apartments in Duluth. • And the same state agency will provide more than $7.7 million in tax credit equity to convert the former Cloquet Middle School into a 57-unit apartment building. Garfield Square
The Duluth City Council has decided to push off a discussion about whether local employers ought to be required to provide workers with paid time off to deal with family illnesses or other crises. In so doing, councilors granted Mayor Emily Larson's request that the matter be tabled until after the Nov. 7 election. On the ballot that date, Duluth voters will indicate whether they support the mayor's proposal to increase the local sales tax by half a percent to fund street improvements.
A task force was scheduled to present its recommendations to the Duluth City Council Monday regarding the possibility of requiring local employers to provide workers with paid time off to deal with family illnesses and other crises. But that timeline could be pushed back if councilors agree to follow Mayor Emily Larson's lead. Since July 2016, the task force has been meeting and taking public input as it examines whether Duluth should pass an ordinance mandating that local employers provide paid time off to workers as a basic benefit.
A couple of tax-forfeited parcels near the corner of Boundary Avenue and U.S. Highway 2 set off a bit of a bidding war Thursday, when St. Louis County auctioned off the property. The land is part of a site where developer Brad Johnson of Lotus Realty Services Inc. proposed to erect a Kwik Trip station/store, but the project foundered after the Duluth City Council declined to rezone the property earlier this summer.