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Kristi Stokes: Duluth City Council votes to 'renew the spirit'

Duluth's city council this week acted on a measure that will positively impact our downtown and waterfront over the course of the next five years. Councilors voted in favor of recertifying the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District, the special serv...

Duluth's city council this week acted on a measure that will positively impact our downtown and waterfront over the course of the next five years.

Councilors voted in favor of recertifying the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District, the special service district that has been in place since 2005.

The measure came before the council because the majority of property owners within the district boundaries signed petitions this summer in support of renewal.

That's right; they are willing to continue to voluntarily tax themselves for enhanced services and programs in our Downtown Waterfront.

Some might look at this and think it is highly unusual to gain such support during a time when our economy has been struggling.

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But, in reality, districts across the country are still garnering substantial backing for renewal due to the quality services they are providing and the ability for property owners to pool their resources for a shared benefit.

Duluth is one of approximately 1,000 special-service districts across the world that offer programs aimed at providing a clean, safe and friendly environment in the central urban core of communities.

The amount of districts and their success rate for renewal illustrate that this is a concept that is working -- and one that is working well.

From providing hospitality patrols and litter pick-up to landscape maintenance, marketing and streetscape improvements, the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District is focused on further strengthening the heart of our city.

And this could not, and would not, happen without the leadership and financial support of our stakeholders as well as the partnership with the city of Duluth. This is good for business, it's good for residents and it's good for visitors. Plus, it makes a strong statement that someone is managing our downtown and looking after it.

I applaud the administration for being supportive of this initiative and the councilors who gave their nod to encouraging the private sector to continue its leadership course.

This is a great example of how private-public partnerships are supposed to work; and how the entire community can reap the rewards.

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