Mayor's speech lauds accomplishments, heralds major intiatives
There was no shortage of high points as Mayor Gary Doty recapped the past year from the city administration's point of view. And he didn't ignore the downside, mentioning the controversy tied to the city's two most notable projects and the recent...
There was no shortage of high points as Mayor Gary Doty recapped the past year from the city administration's point of view.
And he didn't ignore the downside, mentioning the controversy tied to the city's two most notable projects and the recent bad news on the Office Depot store.
He also made several big announcements.
A large crowd turned out at the DECC Monday night as the mayor took the stage with the City Council to give his 2001 State of the City Address.
Doty recalled his 1994 address, when he announced the formation of Duluth Vision 2001, a community goal-setting exercise designed to guide the city on a planned course into the next century.
Quoting some of that past speech, he described the process that led to 26 recommendations for improving Duluth.
"So what do we do now?" Doty asked. "Our job now as a community is to keep building for the future. We need to continue to plan well and to implement those plans well."
He went on to describe the city's comprehensive planning effort and announced a public meeting to kick off the process. It will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the DECC.
"Just as I did seven years ago, I encourage and invite all Duluthians to participate in that planning process," he said. "In the coming months, a lot will happen."
Turning to projects already started, Doty brought up the Duluth Technology Village and the Great Lakes Aquarium. He said both opened in 2000, helping position Duluth as an international leader in two important areas.
"Yes, the technology village and the aquarium each have some detractors. And that's to be expected," Doty said.
"When a community has the courage to undertake two concepts that have never been tried before, there are bound to be doubters and growing pains."
He cited the international attention being focused on Duluth as a major reason for the $20 million DECC expansion that will make the 11th busiest convention complex in the nation even busier.
Staying on the waterfront, Doty talked about Bayfront Festival Park and publicly thanked Lois Paulucci for her $3 million donation.
He noted two of the city's other big stories: Home Depot with its nature preserve and the United Health Care complex.
"With its new expansion, United Health Care will become Duluth's third largest private employer," he said.
Then, for possibly the first time in public, he acknowledged that the Spirit Mountain golf course and hotel project will become a reality.
The mayor talked about the closing of LTV, cutbacks at other mines and the closing of Office Depot in Duluth.
"There is a silver lining, though," he said. "Office Depot is honoring its lease and is leaving behind $1.3 million worth of newly constructed space which will be attractive to future tenants."
Highlighting job creation and the city's aid to small and mid-sized businesses led to his second announcement.
Doty will invite business and government leaders to a major economic summit to map strategies for economic growth. The last one was held 10 years ago.
Previewing other steps in 2001, he said the city will establish an American Indian Planning Committee, and in June, Duluth will commemorate the 1920 lynching of three innocent African-American men. He will also present a human rights ordinance to the council this year.
"This isn't the perfect community, but we're getting closer all the time," Doty said. "You don't have to be mayor to make a difference in Duluth; the only requirement for making a difference is wanting to."