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The opening of parking ramps at Maurices new headquarters building on Superior Street and at the new transit center on Michigan Street recently combined to add about 900 stalls to Duluth's public parking inventory, creating some new challenges for the city. Duluth likely will need to improve both its marketing of off-street parking and develop clearer signs that direct visitors to its plentiful parking options, said David Montgomery, the city's chief administrative officer. "We don't have a lack of parking downtown. We have lots of parking downtown," he said.
Duluth Edison Charter Schools' plan to build a new high school in Duluth has been placed on hold, at least for now. Edison's chosen developer, Pacific Education Partners, had filed an appeal with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources after the Duluth Planning Commission voted 4-1 last July to reject its proposal to build a school on the southern edge of Snowflake Nordic Ski Center off Rice Lake Road. City staff and commissioners cited concerns about the project's potential impact on local wetlands.
Duluth Fire Chief Dennis Edwards made the case for hiring an additional housing inspector to the Duluth City Council Thursday night. He asked for an $81,000 funding bump to cover the cost of the new life safety position with the prediction that the post will more than pay for itself. In fact, Edwards suggested it could do so twice-over by generating an estimated $168,000 in revenue.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made history Tuesday afternoon when he became the first vice president-elect to ever address the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson was in the audience, listening. Pence said he consulted with President-elect Donald Trump before speaking to the 300-some mayors amassed in Washington, D.C. Pence said Trump sent his greetings and instructed him to "tell them we're going to do an infrastructure bill, and it's going to be big."
Although a plan to address what's been called the Lakewalk's "missing link" has been adopted, it likely will be at least another year before it can be built. Duluth aims to embark on a new Lakewalk mini-master plan, likely in the latter half of this year, and given the scope of that plan, Lindsay Dean, manager of the city's parks and recreation division, said she anticipates it will take at least six months to complete. That document will play a critical role in helping the city pursue state and federal support for trail improvements, she explained.
The Duluth City Council approved yet another dose of funding for the proposed Northern Lights Express passenger rail service earlier this week amid assurances that the project, which has been years in the making, could finally be close to fruition. The annual cost of Duluth's involvement in the initiative has fallen from about $60,000 when the push started in 2007 to less than $9,000 this year, noted Ken Buehler, chairman of the technical advisory committee for the proposed rail service — often referred to as NLX for short.
The city of Duluth is looking to the public for direction as it considers what should become of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad corridor after the line is torn up to allow for the cleanup of the former U.S. Steel Duluth Works property in Morgan Park, anticipated to occur in 2018. Three options are on the table, and just one of them includes returning the volunteer-operated sightseeing railroad to the scene, according to Lisa Luokkala, project coordinator for Duluth's parks and recreation department.
The Duluth City Council's annual selection of a new president is rarely the stuff of high drama, but 2017 has been an unusual year. Council Vice President Joel Sipress narrowly edged out At Large City Councilor Noah Hobbs in a second-round ballot Monday night, after the two candidates emerged deadlocked in an initial vote to choose the next council president.
When Northern Waters Restaurant first set up shop on Duluth's Woodland Avenue in February of 2016, it made history by becoming the first eatery in the Twin Ports to adopt a no-tipping policy. Instead of making their wait staff dependent on the generosity of diners for much of their pay, owners Eric and Lynn Goerdt baked the price of a traditional gratuity directly into their pricing. But in the next couple of weeks, the Goerdts plan to roll out a new menu that no longer eschews tips. Eric Goerdt said many customers appreciated the tip-free model but not all.
Come Monday, the members of Duluth's City Council will select their next president, and two candidates are actively jockeying for that leadership role: Noah Hobbs and Joel Sipress. Sipress, who represents Duluth's 2nd District, currently serves as council vice president and has been nominated to succeed At Large Councilor Zack Filipovich as president. But At Large Councilor Hobbs is challenging Sipress in a race that has become somewhat testy in recent days.