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The fabulous front porch

Ever notice that in modern homes the front porch has gone the way of the dodo bird? Instead, we all have large decks in the backyard, where we do all the things we used to do on the front porch, except talk to our neighbors.

Ever notice that in modern homes the front porch has gone the way of the dodo bird? Instead, we all have large decks in the backyard, where we do all the things we used to do on the front porch, except talk to our neighbors.

Most older homes, however, retain their charming front porches and their close proximity to the neighbors' homes. For proof, just drive down any street in central Duluth, particularly on the hillside, in Lincoln Park, Morgan Park and West Duluth.

There's a movement afoot to revitalize those core neighborhoods -- it's called "Creating Neighborhoods That Work-At Home in Duluth."

Big deal, you say, they've been "revitalizing" those neighborhoods for years; what's different now?

According to Pam Kramer, senior program director of Duluth Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), this time they're going beyond beautifying homes and streetscapes. They're trying to develop a neighborhood "plan of action" that will, ideally, address all kinds of quality of life issues. Also different from past endeavors, this one is a collaborative effort by about two dozen organizations and agencies so far, plus the neighborhood residents.

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Most planners would give their eyeteeth to have neighborhoods like these instead of the miles of snout-nosed homes where people drive into their garage and aren't seen again until the next morning, when they drive out of the garage. These core areas of Duluth are the kind of neighborhoods planners now say are ideal -- with a mixture of income levels, business and residential zoning, and neighbors close enough to say "Hi" to and maybe even borrow a cup of sugar from.

However, as evidenced by the ever-increasing population of Hermantown, not all home buyers feel the same way.

But for those of you lucky enough to live in one of these core neighborhoods, count your blessings. And, if you don't like it or you simply want to be a part of making your vintage neighborhood even better, head to the Coppertop Church next Saturday (Oct. 6) morning to find out how you can get involved.

Ah, ah, ah ... no excuses, they even have free child-care and rides if you call ahead, to NHS of Duluth at 727-8604.

Getting involved is fun, especially if you can see the results right outside your front door.

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