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My new lawn-scaping plans


What do you guys think? Looks great doesn't it? No mowing that pesky green grass for me! Now that a majority of my "representatives" on the city council have exhibited their continued support of the HOMEOWNERS of Duluth, I can go forward with my plans to maximize profits on my investment...er...I mean remodel my home...I've got new cutsie signs on the front door, "investment, sweet investment" and "there's no place like investment". I've asked Kathyrn Martin and Jeff Anderson to help me with decorating and design ideas for investment impoverishment ..er...improvement projects like how to make a basement into an additional rental unit without the expense (and enforcement) of egress windows. I'm REALLY hoping to upgrade my Endion neighborhood property with some light industrial manufacturing in my garage. The only thing bumming me out is the fact that I know the city will soon be hiring more people and beefing up the inspections staff.


Make sure you move far away once you've finished with the impoverishments and renters have begun residing on the premises.

You wouldn't want to be on hand to deal with fixing stuff...or worrying about troublesome renters.

Someone woke up feeling a bit sassy.

Blah blah blah...

Hearing you loud and clear, Baci, over on the east hillside. Here's an idea to help balance the budget so we can afford those inspectors: triple the property tax on rental units owned by non-Duluth residents (or "absentee landlords"), stick landlords renting to UMD or CSS students with a $500/year per-tenant surcharge, and subject those who turn lawns into driveways to $1,000 year "license fees" for each spot.

(Discounting the potential lawsuits, of course...)

But I wonder how much this has to do with pandering to UMD and property managers the same way the Planning Commission and DEDA roll over submissively every time A&L decides to destroy down a historic building that is blocking Rob's view--and asks the City to give him $20 million in return. I ask: what is it about (or why is it that) Duluth City Government--and not just the current Council, but for some time now--is so willing to compromise the quality of life in order to make a few business people (and believe you me, UMD is a business first and foremost, no matter what lofty delusions of higher education we may have) a little richer?

I don't now. I'm asking.


The DCB is a place for Duluthians to bitch about how all criminals are from out of town.

PDD is a place for Duluthians to bitch about how all landlords are from out of town.

Barrett, the shame is that it's weak kneed residents who cave to the good ol' Duluth oligarchy interests. I dont blame anyone smart enough to capitalize on this town's lack of self-confidence and it's lack ability to stand up for it's citizens. The "landlords" are not the issue, they're just making good old American money because Duluth cant stand up for it's self. The issue is Duluth's collective lack of nards and a city charter written during the Eisenhower administration.

This lawn is more eco friendly than a lawn that needs to be watered and cut and fertilized and all that jazz. ;^)

I like the way you think Jeff! When the oil dripping from those used cars runs off to the nearby pond, I'll be there with my tiki torches lightin' my cigar by rubbin' two fish together. This is MY kinda town! Now, if there was only a tax increment finance zone close to the bridge where I could get a free ride from the city whiles I monopolize the tourism $$ and pay crap wages to the housekeepers....hmmmm....

Hey tonyd, have you been Downtown lately to see the renovated Wieland Block? 2 buildings that sat unattended for decades....$15.9M later plus $8M for the new construction with ZERO help from the Duluth Preservationists or their tax credits. Total city contribution : less than $800k PV paid over something like 25 years? So you should get over the hate and get your facts straight. $800k is a far cry from the $20M you claim. As far as why the city would make such an investment through an economic incentive - I think the answer is simple. Because they want the downtown cleaned up. Because the whole community benefits from the investment. Because who else is actually making progress Downtown without incentive?

Actually, Rob F, its the Hayes-Wieland Block. I have no problem with the work being done there, and would love to see all of downtown vital (but I do wonder how they are going to fill all that class A office space when most buildings downtown are already having trouble maintaining occupancy). And I'm no "building hugger" in favor of saving every old building: it must have architectural and historical significance and be in sound enough shape to actually restore--jut like the Costello Building was. So, yes, I bemoan the fact that the A&L plan also came at the cost of losing the Costello Building-- which was in much better condition than the other two and just as historically significant--and that the City provided financial incentive to tear down part of its heritage.

A&L has plenty of money for a project like that. To me, Duluth providing A&L with a tax break is like the Feds giving tax breaks to the oil companies as they cash in record profits while consumers pay record prices. But you can't blame A&L for asking; I blame the City for caving in.

And it miffs me that the Costello was knocked down to create a courtyard for a bunch of brand new condos (which we are of course in desperate need of, right? I mean, that's why the Beacon Point condos are being turned into a resort, right? Because we need more condos?) and so Rob L. could see the lake from his window across the way in that there Tech Center, er Soft Center, er $20 million pizza place. (That's where I got the $20 million--the amount the city invested to knock down historic buildings for A&L to build that monstrosity). A&L's original plan was to tear down all three buildings on the lower 300 block and Link was quoted in the DNT as calling the buildings "those eyesores across the street". The Planning Commission and DEDA set up a TIFF zone for A&L based on an environmental impact worksheet they made post-approval changes to (In the EIW, A&L had promised to restore the Hayes & Wieland to federal standards, but after getting the TIFF zone decided not to and Planning allowed them to revise the EIW). And guess what? A&L also decided to change plans again and build a building right where the Costello was--the old developer bait-and-switch--when they could have saved money, reduced environmental impact and building materials, and received a 20% federal tax break by adapting all three buildings for reuse--and retained a great piece of Duluth's history along the way.

As for "Duluth preservationists" (the DPA is a private organization, and the City's Heritage Preservation Commission is empowered to do nothing and is the only HPC in the nation without a budget), they have nothing to do with tax credits. Neither the City nor the State has a program for that. Tax breaks for historic preservation come from the Feds--the Secretary of the Interior--for work preserving the building (primarily the exterior; they encourage renovation for adaptive reuse on the inside). And, seriously, do you really expect preservationists to support a plan that includes destroying a historic building?

Once A&L decided to tear down the Costello it rendered itself unqualified for those tax credits and looked to the City for financial support--if they had preserved all three, they would have gotten the credits. But they had trouble with that before: it took them a team of lawyers and many months to get tax credits for their work on the Bridgeman-Russell Building because they did not adhere to the government guidelines. And they purchased the Bridgeman-Russell and the theatre that stood next to the E. Fetus from the City for $1--isn't that plenty enough incentive?

I'm all for improvements, but if a developer wants to tear down a historic building, they should pay for it themselves. Planning/DEDA provided incentives without blinking, and that's the point I was trying to bring up earlier, before this distraction over preservation: why does Duluth so readily roll over to big business (as it were) at the expense of its tax-paying citizens' quality of life?

Whew! Gettin' dizzy up here on my soap box!

Tony, can it be that you don't wholly embrace the Chamber of Commerce's conviction that Duluth "continue[s] to have
an anti-business reputation"?

Tonyd: Your version of the events that led to A&L save the Wieland block lacks a basic understanding of the process that led to the city supporting the project. You are wrong about the preliminary plans, you are wrong about the TIF, the EAW, the 20% credits (really really wrong about that), you are wrong about the Tech Village, the demand for class A space, and demand for Condos on E Superior Street. You are wrong about why A&L could not save the Costello building, wrong about the costs , wrong about the change in scope. The thing is Tony, I just don't think you want to know what actually happened during the process and have the failures of the local preservationists be rehashed. What I know is that the Duluth has two really nice, renovated buildings that all but a partisan few think are a HUGE improvement.

Rob, if tony's wrong why don't you correct his information instead of letting it stand?


knock it off with this "you can't handle the truth" garbage. that kinda crap doesn't walk.

Fair point about correcting Tony's misinformation. As far as, "that kinda crap doesn't walk", well i guess that is a two way street, zra. I feel the same way when someone who had ZERO contribution to what is turning out to be a really NICE project takes pot shots. So. Maybe it's the right thing to do - point by point rebutal - but I can't get away from the suspicion that regardless of what actually happened during the process the response is going to be the same - yeah but the Tech Village, yeah but Link has the money, yeah but they could have easily received the credits.....It's kinda like talking to a republican and after laying out all the facts they retreat to yeah but clinton got a blowjob.

Even though I was displaced from the Wieland Block studio space, I respect what they did with the buildings. Those buildings were rotting after years of neglect by the former owner(s) they had no roofs, etc. Link is actually doing this city some good.

HEy, what can A&L do about student housing downtown? Really, I think thats the solution to MANY of our woes in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools. It would also continue the re-vitalization of downtown. WE're building alot of condos, that may or may not be selling, but how about more affordable student oriented housing? How about UMD having an ACTUAL presence in downtown? THis would fit a more "richard florida" rise of the creative class approach to Duluth, integrate the college and the downtown more.

I recall reading something about the Costello building being torn down so they could put parking on the Michigan street level.

I have more of a problem with the city suckering itself into being a franchised Soft Center™ satellite at $300,000 / year (they're not anymore), than anything else. And it's comical to read the Technology Village newspaper clipping archive at the library and watch UMD's boisterous $upport turn into a muted, half hearted thumbs up.

There was a artist rendition of the lower block of Superior street (across from the Technology Center) in the paper that displayed a nearly block-long, 4 story glass-and-steel building connected with a skywalk across Superior street. Plans were revised when it turned out the owner of the Electric Fetus wasn't willing to be played as a chump:

"M. Conlan said this discussion of the Storefront Loan Program was on the agenda because it relates to the Bridgeman Russell proposal and also to recent discussions with the building official regarding how to best deal with code issues in the downtown in order to facilitate "upstairs housing". (See also memo in packet addressed to Com. Stewart from M. Conlan). M. Conlan distributed copies of a colored map showing the properties within the district which have already received storefront loan funds, properties with pending storefront loans, and a number of areas which are not suitable for loans e.g. Tech Village, parking lots. M. Conlan described the issue relating to the Electric Fetus property. K. Covert, owner, and C. Brown, manager, were present and indicated that they have been requesting a storefront loan for their building since October 2001. M. Conlan directed staff to not accept new applications last fall and through this spring until the effects of TIF legislation changes were fully understood. M. Conlan directed staff to put a moratorium on approving any additional Storefrotn loans for the buildings on the south side of Superior Street between Lake Avenue and First Avenue East including the Electric Fetus until such time as the direction of the skywalk connection from the Tech Village to the downtown has been determined. Com. Stewart expressed his concerns about the loan process. Com. Stewart said it was his understanding that M. Conlan had made an offer for an unidentified developer to buy the building . When the building owner refused the offer, the building owner was told that there was a moratorium on storefront loan projects across from the Tech Village. Com. Stewart said neither DEDA nor the City Council had made the moratorium decision, and he questioned the Executive Director's authority to make moratorium decisions without DEDA approval. Com. Talarico said that he represents two different clients; one interested in the Strand Theater location and another interested in the Lake Avenue (west side) property. Both clients were told by M. Conlan that storefront funds were not available and that there were potential skywalk route issues which needed to be resolved. K. Covert detailed the history of his request for a storefront loan and described M. Conlan's visit to his office in the Cities on May 30th regarding the offer to purchase his Duluth building saying the offer was from an unidentified source in the Tech Village. Com. Stewart said another building located at 734 E. Superior Street was not included in the moratorium. M. Conlan confirmed that he did in fact put a moratorium on the block across from the Tech Village. The moratorium on the Electric Fetus building is still in effect due to the unresolved skywalk issues. M. Conlan said that he did meet with K. Covert in May and he did tell Mr. Covert that the City may have an interest in the Electric Fetus property. DEDA owns two vacant pieces of property on the east side of the Electric Fetus building. Com. Hogg expressed his desire to get clarification regarding at what point does the DEDA board become involved in policy issues. M. Conlan said that this issue could be added to the strategic planning meeting. Com. Atkins asked for an interpretation of whether the Executive Director can, on his own, set a moratorium or if that decision has to come to the DEDA. Com. Atkins expressed his concern that Commissioners have no proposal or plan for a skywalk in front of them and are talking about denying a loan application from a building owner who wants to improve an existing building. Com. Atkins questioned the cost of extending the skywalk from the Tech Village crossing Superior Street to the lower side and then bridging Lake Avenue over to Minnesota Power, and recommended both DEDA and City Council members look at past visions for skywalk and whatever cost information is available. Com. Stenberg said he was extremely uneasy with just an executive decision to have a moratorium. Com. Stenberg said that if staff were to make business owners aware of what might possibly happen and if the business owner still wants to apply for a storefront loan, staffs' response should be, "Yes, we will accept your application, but here is what we want you to know. We want you to know that that has been a possible route for the skywalk, and there has been a history of eminent domain for skywalks". Then it would be a business decision for the building owner."

Cite your sources, bitches.

Again, I honestly appreciate what A&L is doing for the Hayes and Wieland, and A&L has every right to do what they want with the buildings/property they own. But they could have saved all three and it would have still been a HUGE improvement. The simple point I was trying to make: I just plain don't like the city financially (or otherwise) supporting the destruction of a perfectly sound historic building.

(And yes, Shane, one of the reasons given by A&L for tearing down the Costello was to create below-ground parking. And of course we need more parking: witness the EMPTY City-owned ramp behind the Voyaguer, another project financed by the City to accommodate a very big business: the hospital.)

Rob F: I stand by my statements. I am well-versed in historic preservation, followed the Tech Center controversy and court case closely, reviewed the EIW and all of the various plans A&L presented along the way, and attended the Planning Commission and DEDA meetings concerning the project--except for any behind-closed-doors discussions that may or may not have taken place, I know exactly what happened during the process. Until you can prove my statements as wrong, you have no argument. What are these supposed "facts" that you have laid out, and how are my factual statements the same as "yeah but Clinton got a blowjob?" The simple fact that you disagree with me does not make me wrong. Your "No you're wrong but I can't tell you why, but you're just wrong" approach underscores to me that I am wasting my time trying to discuss anything on a civil, intelligent level with you, and the good folks who read PDD don't need to be bothered by that kind of low-level discourse. So I'm done here. Enjoy whatever color the sky is in your world.

Adam I 'm not sure what point you are making with this excerpt. It's my understanding that the Fetus did go forward with their VERY nice renovation and that storefront loans were used. I'm also not sure that the Fetus owner was being played as a chump by anyone other than Conlan.

You could probably gather that from the source I cited.

I agree with Rob F. There are a number of people who don't seem to understand the real situation that existed when the buildings downtown were aquired by A&L. Sure, the city got involved with the Soft Center deal, but that was a Conlan and Doty deal; nothing to do with A&L. It was a bad deal all around, but there was no end to the bad deals Doty got us in to, just look at the mess we face today and thank Doty for that too. A&L has been a great corporation. They employ a lot of people at good wages, they have bought property no one else wanted and created something positive in downtown at a time when there is no other private investment. In other areas of town, A&L has invested in new construction and built some great properties that reall enhance the City. We could use a few more A&L developers around here. We should be thanking Link and his firm for what they're doing for Duluth rather than complain about them. I don't see anyone else taking a gamble on Duluth at the level A&L is willing to do it.

We clearly disagree Tony. Is this low level discourse? Referring to the intentions of A&L with terms like 'bait and switch' , comparing A&L to oil companies and referring to grossly large dollar amounts that are inaccurate to make a point about a project you don't like and fought against? Is that what you mean by low level? Whatever. My Clinton comment aptly portrays the rhetorical position you advance. I’ll try to pick these off one by one.

–TD: “ …Costello Building-- which was in much better condition than the other two and just as historically significant”-- actually funny you mention that because the report from the structural engineer points to many engineering deficiencies, you may have mistakenly thought the building was in good shape because the façade looked so good. It did – it wasn’t the original façade.

–TD: “…Costello was knocked down to create a courtyard” – The Costello building was knocked down because the only way to create parking on the site and save the other buildings was to knock it down. Its historical significance, given its many changes and bastardizations is questionable.

–TD: “Rob L. could see the lake from his window across the way in that there Tech Center, er Soft Center, er $20 million pizza place. (That's where I got the $20 million--the amount the city invested to knock down historic buildings for A&L to build that monstrosity) “--- This one is fun because it just shows, again the Clinton got a blowjob, rhetorical position. Get. Over. It. The city did not invest or give A&L $20M to build the Tech Village 10 YEARS AGO! A&L has invested over $29M In building costs, improvements, taxes and losses.

–TD: “A&L's original plan was to tear down all three buildings on the lower 300 block and Link was quoted in the DNT as calling the buildings "those eyesores across the street" --- The eye sore across the street was a choice quote. I cringed and laughed when that became the rally cry for those who took aim at A&L. Those dilapidated buildings were actually the MOTIVATION to renovate the block. Looking down on them from the Tech Village was an eyesore. Water pouring into the building from the roof, more pigeons than tenants, broken windows…ask those guys at the early Ripsaw about the conditions there. They’re no A&L fans and even they couldn’t run a business there. Or the Lizzards gallery folks. The leaking roof caused them many problems. The artists, or the kiln operator that fired in a space without a fire protection system risking the entire block. A&L’s original plan as you say was not to tear the buildings down. The plan was to find a way the restore the buildings, just like they had done many times before Downtown, the MNNB Building, the Phoenix Building, the DAC, Brigdeman and the Marshall Wells building. Earning a half dozen preservation awards in the process.

–TD: “In the EIW, A&L had promised to restore the Hayes & Wieland to federal standards, but after getting the TIFF zone decided not to” --- (It’s TIF BTW) The interior dept guidelines you refer to were the basis for the building plans and specs. The degree to which one needs or should follow those guidelines is based on the level of credits applied for under Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.

–TD: “…could have saved money, reduced environmental impact and building materials, and received a 20% federal tax break” --- A&L saved two historic buildings - the cost of the restoration FAR exceeded the cost to build new. GREATLY. This myth that it costs less to save a building compared to building new is something you need to get your arms around if you think anyone Downtown can use these credits. The guidelines and restrictions to meet the 20% threshold, compared to the 10% threshold, in almost every case I’ve seen cost more than the amount you will net from those 20% credits. To simplify that : why would you spend one dollar that you otherwise wouldn’t have only to receive 70 cents back? You wouldn’t and until you solve that economic reality you again won’t be seeing many 20% credit projects.

–TD: “ Once A&L decided to tear down the Costello it rendered itself unqualified for those tax credits” --- To answer your question about whether preservationists should support a plan that includes destroying a historic building? – I do think you should have supported it. I think you are a hypocrite for not supporting it. You collectively drew a line in the sand, partially I believe because you let personalities get in the way of what should have been a decision about the greater goal, and because you severely underestimated your relative political power . The local preservation group made the political decision to not support the historic renovation of the two buildings A&L saved. The result is that you gave up any control / input into the process. Fortunately for Duluth A&L did a wonderful job renovating the buildings without the 20% credit and incidentally many in the business believe we could still qualify for the 10% credits. But why go through the trama again?

–TD: “…it took them a team of lawyers and many months to get tax credits for their work on the Bridgeman-Russell Building because they did not adhere to the government guidelines.” --- A&L did complete the building to the Interior Department guidelines and they received the 20% credit. What you are referring to was the fact that the local preservation group claimed otherwise and was proven wrong during an appeal to the National Historic Trust – who quickly over ruled the locals who sought to derail the issuance of the credits. BTW the FOIA request provided some interesting reading from internal memo of the various groups involved.

Tony my take on your assertions is that you are anti A&L, still hold a grudge about the Tech Village (from 10 years ago), you don’t understand the economics of the tax credits, or the market for Downtown Condos, parking, or class A space. And your dollar amounts are way off. A&L will receive around $800k PV over something like 25 years. For that the city gets all their requirements met, a nearly $24M project, two beautifully renovated buildings, and one less dilapidated block.

The parking ramp behind the Voyageur is empty because someone, actually many people screwed up. A contract with SMDC should have been worked out prior to building the ramp. The construction costs were too high due to changes after the bids went out. I heard some lame excuse about extra rock having to be blasted out. Hello? The city is built on a rock outcrop, of course you might run into unexpected rock.
SMDC is still having it's people park at the DECC and being bussed to SMDC. Why are they not parking in the new ramp next to SMDC? Why does the city insist upon keeping ownership of the ramp?

Since Rob F. is a consultant for A & L, is he getting paid to make these posting?
Most of Duluth's great buildings have been torn down in the last few decades, so it's tough to blame preservationists for drawing a line in the sand to keep what little is left. The city is just beginning to grasp the concept of historic preservation. The Doty administration had nothing but contempt for it. (Doty's city planner, Mike Conlan, handed A & L everything it wanted and now he's a company consultant. Funny how that works.)
Who will this development benefit? How affordable will these apartments be? Will any part have public access? Will the commercial space steal tenants from existing local buildings like Tech Village did? To get a TIF subsidy there's supposed to be a clear public benefit. TIF's are notoriously abused for private benefit and Duluth hands them out like candy.

Not sure who farglebargle is - never met anyone by that name. Are you asking me if I'm getting paid to post on the web? Ha. Or just implying some sort of conflict? And by what little is left do you mean the two most recent renovated buildings ie the Wieland project? Anyway more factless pot shots. Last I checked, over a year ago, Conlan was running a suburb of Chicago. What apartments? What stolen tenants? "city is just beginning to grasp the concept of historic preservation" ???? The city has been giving incentives to restore buildings downtown for 2 decades. Are you crazy? And before two decades ago NOTHING was happening downtown except mothballing and moving to the mall. But lets say that is true, that the City really is just starting to "grasp it' - how on earth do you expect them to further the grasp without incentives like TIF. The investments in Downtown via TIF or any other means benefit all of Duluth, through higher taxes, increased property values, beautification, jobs, and overall positive energy. Are you claiming that the status quo - continued deterioration - is better?

Am I crazy? Are you a troll in a suit? Or a robot speaking with his master’s voice?
Perhaps I am outdated about Mr. Conlan’s employment, but he's still got a Duluth address. Are you saying he didn't work for A & L after he left the city? In fact he wrote the EAW for A & L’s "Duluth Historic District Renaissance Project," the name of which was changed after it became less "historic." The city is supposed to write the EAW, not just rubber-stamp the company’s draft, which shows he still can pull strings.
Apartments: This project was sold to city council with the idea that it would include apartments, has that changed?
What stolen tenants? You’re telling me Tech Village never went around trying to recruit tenants from U.S. Bank Place, Norwest (now Wells Fargo) Center, Lake Superior Place, and the Alworth and Lonsdale Buildings? How about The Sandpiper, Catherine Imports and Torke Weihnachten from Fitgers, Fingerhut (now closed) from 300 Michigan St.; ScanHealth (now Sansio) and Cell One (now At&T) from Hermantown? You work there, you tell me what percentage of the tenants are from outside the area. Somehow I doubt Fitger's is thrilled to see their tax dollars subsidizing competition. The promise of Tech Village was to bring in new businesses.
“The city has been giving incentives to restore buildings downtown for 2 decades.” I’m not familiar with any such incentives, so please enlighten me. Only city incentive I’m aware of was the creation of the downtown commercial historic district in 2006, which was promptly violated by tearing down the Costello.
“…benefit all of Duluth, through higher taxes, increased property values, beautification, jobs, and overall positive energy.” Ah, the ol’ trickle down argument used to justify every form of corporate welfare. The public subsidizes pretty buildings they can’t afford to walk into. And still somehow the city keeps ending up broke.

What pisses me off is that you guys blog-squatted on my post! This is supposed to be about how much the city sucks in the neighborhoods around UMD, not how much it sucks downtown...c'mon...*b-slapping the commentors*...get back on my hate topic!!! Really, actually it's all related...this city sucks! ......JKJKJKJK!!! We all suck for not working together better....let's evolve this city to be what we want....step 1 REDO THE CHARTER to match the 21st Century.

boys boys boys ... to your corners

I was wondering how the discussion got from Point A to Point Z. But it was local, relevant and too tasty to pass up.

Well, some sensible city planning in regards to the continued expansion of UMD would help the parking issue. However when every student has to have a car and the houses were built when families had one car, now house 4+ students, each with a car.
Funny thing about parking and UMD. Look through old copies of the UMD Statesman, the issue of parking problems go back to the 1950s.
I have been saying since I was at UMD to help with parking, do not give freshman parking permits. Other universities have such a policy and it would help the parking issue. You can live without a car for a couple of years while going to school.

Hey fargle- Why'll Tonyd and I disagree, I have a healthy amount of respect for someone that is clearly giving a lot to a cause that I think is 99% right on the money. I'll keep my foot on the gas with him because he and I can both take it and because I know who he is, I've seen him at the meetings, he clearly loves Duluth. You are the other hand are an anonymous uninformed prick - drive by shooting - throwing things around hoping something will stick. Bitterman?

Baci, sorry about the highjack. The UMD divide in this town is growing worse and worse. I feel for you. I'm lucky enough to be residentially (and professionally) isolated from it. Though many of my friends are not, they have homes that are right in the thick of it. It has some ups, but as you aptly point out here quite a few downs.

This was awesome! I mean I didn't understand all of it or anything like that but ... What I did understand was brilliant. Have you ever tried to have a PDD town meeting to hash this stuff out in front of an audience in a real forum. Get a few panelists, (in this case Baci, Rob F, and maybe Adam) and a moderator (Zra anyone?) Actually you could invite John McCain (Obama doesn't like town meetings I guess). I'd go. I might even pay 5 bucks to see this in person ...

The first year I attended UMD I was livid to realize my $100+, 90-minute-wait-to-advance-purchase parking permit was oversold by nearly double.

I think some of the sensitivity concerning the latter posts come from citizenry in this town being fairly consistently sold on bait-and-switches. To their own detriment. I would go so far as to cite the impending sale of the Central High School property as the next one in line.

For comparison's sake, a decade or so ago, there was a lot of unhappiness in Chapel Hill NC [where I happened to live at the time] over front yards being turned into parking lots.

[cf. http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/records/minutes/1997/970915ph.htm ]

In the end, I guess they imposed a regulation parking to 40 percent of the front yard area, first in the "historic district" downtown, apparently later elsewhere.

The solution are fairly obvious, it the will to do anything about it thats missing. The citizens of Duluth dont lack for pride in their town, they lack the courage to DO something about it...it makes people like me seem like blow hards when really we're just talking about stuff that other towns have done for years. The 20 ton elephant is the room in the University of Minnesota. Isn't there an urban planning program at the Humphrey Inst.? Wouldn't it make a great grad project to ( and $$ contribution opportunity ) to assist Duluth with re-zoning, creating a truly integrated UMD/Duluth (to include a REAL umd presence Downtown ) ... lack of vision, lack of courage, lack of participation all equal faux-status-quo .. faux because the status quo would have been a UMD enrollment 30% lower than is has become. It's a Large school in the middle of a residential district.

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