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Construction marks growth

I recently enjoyed a summer vacation visiting various small cities and exploring the favorite places and businesses of the local residents as well as the tourists. The core of most communities is their downtown and the commercial business districts.

I recently enjoyed a summer vacation visiting various small cities and exploring the favorite places and businesses of the local residents as well as the tourists. The core of most communities is their downtown and the commercial business districts. These are truly a reflection of the local culture and economy.

When I returned to Duluth I was even more energized as I noted the progress made on several construction projects in our downtown. This progress truly marks growth for our community and a desire to invest in Duluth.

Perhaps most notable at this time, due to some traffic restrictions along I-35, is the Duluth Transportation Center. While the structure has been rising up from Michigan Street, restoration work on the Northwest Passage skywalk has been clearly remarkable as motorists can gauge its progress spanning the freeway. This span of skywalk will be brighter, more welcoming and a true gateway to our downtown. It's all part of the Duluth Transit Authority's $29 million multimodal project which brings various modes of transportation together.

Farther west and also highly visible from I-35 is the development of Pier B Resort near Bayfront Festival Park. This 140-room resort will be an added jewel on the waterfront while also offering dock space for boaters wishing to visit the restaurant and resort. Outdoor dining will offer spectacular views and guests will be amazed by the history at the site. Pier B is on schedule to open in June of next year.

As you head into the core downtown, one can't miss the new 11-story Maurices headquarters encompassing an entire city block along Superior Street. This $70 million investment speaks volumes about the company's commitment to its hometown and its plans for future growth. With the company currently spread out among several downtown buildings, this new headquarters will bring all employees under one roof and allow for workforce expansion. This marks the downtown's largest commercial development. It will serve as an additional catalyst for investment and growth on the western edge of downtown.

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Clearly, there is strong momentum in Duluth's downtown. We are seeing significant investment and true confidence in the central urban core. While these construction projects are the largest and most visible, there are also numerous office expansions, relocations and plans for future development.

This also comes at a time when our community is planning for the reconstruction of our main street, Superior Street. While this project will not occur until 2017 at the earliest, much planning is taking place.

We are a city in motion. We are making great progress. Get Downtown and experience it.

Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth. Contact her at 727-8549 or by email at kstokes@downtownduluth.com .

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