The ramp that serves both the Holiday Inn and Holiday Center in downtown Duluth will need to be modified to reroute the way vehicles move in and out of the parking structure now that First Street has been converted into a two-way street.
When the ramp was built, the expectation was that First Street would remain a one-way road, but the Duluth City Council gave the go-ahead to switch it to a two-way traffic flow earlier this year. That conversion just occurred this week.
Labovitz Enterprises, which owns the Holiday Inn and Holiday Center, had been one of the most vocal critics of the conversion, but city officials were able to mollify company officials by agreeing to pick up the tab for costs associated with reconfiguring the parking ramp.
On Wednesday, the Duluth Economic Development Authority unanimously voted to authorize a payment of about $25,340 to JMM LLP to cover the needed ramp modifications.
DEDA Commissioner and 3rd District Duluth City Councilor Roz Randorf said, "I know there were concerns when we were making that adjustment to First Street what they would do, and I think this is an excellent partnership."
DEDA Commissioner and at large City Councilor Zack Filipovich agreed, saying: "I'm glad we can provide this support specifically to this parking ramp and for the businesses that this parking ramp helps to support, quite honestly."
"Making First Street into a two-way, which this helps support, obviously helps make sure that First Street is a pedestrian-friendly place for businesses to grow and to thrive and to start. So, I'm glad that DEDA is able to support that effort," Filpovich went on to say.
Mark Emmel, partner and vice president of Labovitz Enterprises, thanked city staff for their assistance with the project.
Addressing DEDA commissioners Wednesday night, he said: "We've got a good plan to get this all done in the next few weeks, and so we very much appreciate your support."