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Summit meetings continue this month

Work started in specific target areas at the Mayor's Economic Summit will continue with meetings this month. The two-day summit, held in November attracted more than 500 people. There were speakers on economic development and participants were in...

Work started in specific target areas at the Mayor's Economic Summit will continue with meetings this month.
The two-day summit, held in November attracted more than 500 people. There were speakers on economic development and participants were invited to join seven breakout groups.
There were sessions on aviation, technology, transportation, tourism, education, health care and natural resources. Led by industry leaders, the groups came up lists of challenges and opportunities in each category.
For example, the technology group pointed out problems with downtown parking, the lack of a "cool factor" and the low wage structure. But it also found Duluth can offer "great local talent" and inexpensive real estate.
The summit steering committee combined efforts of the sector groups with information from the four keynote speakers to develop its first report.
The report outlines general themes and areas of agreement found at the summit and will be used as a starting point when the groups reconvene.
"We will now take the recommendations and talk about specifics," said Mayor Gary Doty. "Where do we go from here?"
"This is a very solid start," he said. "We received a vast amount of input at the summit and it has been organized into a series of objectives that we can present to our citizens when we meet again."
Key items in the report include redefining the Team Duluth concept, working closely with the Downtown Task Force, more cooperation between business and educators and working toward a visitors center at Bayfront Festival Park.
The report, presented to the mayor Friday, focuses on areas of agreement between speakers and participants. "It only makes good sense to find consensus and work from there," said Doty. "It was certainly heartening to see how much agreement there truly was as part of the original summit."
However, both Doty and steering comittee chairman Jim McGinnis emphasized it will be a long-range process.
"It is clear we need to be cautious about not moving too fast," said McGinnis. "A quick fix is not a permanent fix."
During his State of the City Address, Doty said participants will be invited back to addaction steps for turning their recommendations into reality.
Friday he announced the dates and times for four of those meetings. "We are asking those people to stay involved and others can become involved," he said. "Everyone is invited."
* Health care will meet Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Bennett's Fireside Room.
* Tourism will meet Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Holiday Inn.
* Technology will meet Thursday, Feb. 21 from 8:30 to 11 a.m.
* Aviation will meet Thursday, Feb. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Skyline Room, Duluth International Airport.
The complete report has posted at http://www.ci.duluth.mn.us . Raw data and notes from the summit are available on the city's website.

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