ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Dick Palmer: Duluth lacks confidence to grow

Dean Barkley, the Minnesota Planning Director and a principal member of the Ventura team, has focused on an issue in which we in Duluth should be interested.

Dean Barkley, the Minnesota Planning Director and a principal member of the Ventura team, has focused on an issue in which we in Duluth should be interested.
Barkley, speaking in Redwood Falls, noted the need for diversifying the rural economy coupled with adequate, affordable housing. He was focusing his remarks on communities throughout Minnesota suffering population loss due principally to agricultural decline and job competition from larger communities. He suggests the state could provide financial support to help maintain and expand population balance throughout rural Minnesota.
We have a challenge here in Duluth that certainly is a spin-off from Barkley's remarks. Duluth has plenty of opportunity for growth and diversification, but we don't have confidence in ourselves, and we dearly need good, affordable housing. This is one reason this writer is supporting the properly zoned multiple housing projects for West Duluth.
Just take a look around. Indeed, we need a long-range plan for our city, but we also need to develop a confidence level that will make the right plan workable. Recently, there has been opposition to nearly every venture that has been put on the table here. The opposition is contagious and detrimental to our future.
We cannot roll up the streets at night and simply exist. It won't work. We have been told the population of the Twin Cities is expected to grow from 1,083,931 to 1,651,827 between 1995 and 2025. This is a conservative estimate. Wouldn't it be nice if Duluth could get a share of that migration?
Duluth has the tools -- and is now equipped to support a growing technology industry. We have a higher education base that is attracting record numbers. We are expanding our cultural interests. Our tourism is a strong factor, our retail base is solid, but there is something missing in Duluth that needs addressing.
We need to be asking people to come to Duluth, invest in Duluth, and allow employees to get a taste of the quality of life here that is second to none in all of Minnesota. We need affordable housing, both multiple dwelling and single units that will attract younger families. We need an attitude of enthusiasm and support and a downplay on our continuing demands for more government handouts.
Yes, state financial support would be helpful as an investment. We have the tools, so let's get going.
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.