Kristi Stokes: Upcoming construction a mixed blessing
Construction. At a time when the economy is slow, it's a welcome breathe of fresh air to see development taking place in Duluth's downtown. But such work also comes with some challenges, as traffic will have to be rerouted around a major thorough...
Construction. At a time when the economy is slow, it's a welcome breathe of fresh air to see development taking place in Duluth's downtown. But such work also comes with some challenges, as traffic will have to be rerouted around a major thoroughfare in our central business district.
Exterior work will soon begin to expand downtown's Skywalk system with a link from the Lake Superior Place building to the Technology Village. This long-awaited link will span behind several Superior Street buildings and cross Lake Avenue, finally connecting old downtown with the core downtown via the Skywalk system.
The Greater Downtown Council has been advocating for this project for more than seven years as it is seen as a vital link in our commercial corridor. We applaud DEDA commissioners for their support and shared vision for stronger pedestrian connections in our central business district.
While we work to keep our eye on the prize -- an additional link in our Skywalk -- we know the construction phase will present some challenges for our downtown businesses as well as residents within the construction zone.
Lake Avenue, between Superior Street and First Street, is slated to close later this month. This closure is expected to last up to seven months, with vehicular traffic being re-routed to First Avenue East. During this time, pedestrian traffic will still be allowed on this block of Lake Avenue, providing access to the businesses that are in the midst of the construction zone. We are also well aware of the fact that this work will continue through the busy tourism season. While local residents have time to adjust to the detours, we will work with the city to ensure there is significant signage to also help tourists adjust.
It is my hope that the GDC can play an important role in helping our businesses and residents get through this temporary inconvenience of construction, a road closure and detour.
The lines of communication remain open and we know the end product will be one we can all look at with pride.