Duluth Dinkytown?

Anybody have thoughts on this?

Duluth School Board authorizes sale of Woodland site; developer envisions mini ‘Dinkytown’

I know the family that lives on the east end of the wooded area. They have been trying for over a year to purchase some of that land to leave as green-space and a buffer. They were assured that the developer would take the neighborhood “into consideration.” Can anybody fire up their crystal ball and see how this plays out? Or should I invest in vinyl siding as it takes a lot of plastic to wrap buildings over 21 acres.

69 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

There have been numerous complaints over the years about a lack of student housing near Duluth's colleges, so there will no doubt be complaints about efforts to create it, too, because everything is a controversy.

Matt

about 8 years ago

It's about time that UMD gets some sort of student living area built. Right now, all of the housing is so spread out from Woodland to Central Hillside, with no central campus area to get together. Hopefully this plays out and turns into a positive experience for the students.

Matt

about 8 years ago

Oh, and it would be nice if a bar or two could go up around there instead of having to take cabs to Fitger's or Canal Park.

The Big E

about 8 years ago

Is there any languishing piece of real estate in Duluth that has not been identified as the site of a future Duluth Dinkytown in the past couple of years?

Baci

about 8 years ago

@Duluth Bishop,

The developer IS interested in working with the neighborhoods. His people met with Campus Neighbors. My suggestion is that you should connect with those folks, they work to represent the residents of neighborhoods surrounding the campuses. There's a lot of information on their site.

IMHO - All the conversion, both neighborly and vitriolic, has led to awareness and progressive action. While significant issues still remain like parking and parking and also parking, there is a platform for discussion.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Please oh please do not refer to this as Duluth"s "Dinkytown." Why does it even need a name? 

As a nearby resident and UMD employee, I'd love to see some college-oriented retail. And maybe this will finally lead to some safe pedestrian crossing of Woodland. 

Has anyone tried to walk or bike to and within Mount Royal - especially in the winter? There is zero concern for anything other than cars.

Laura

about 8 years ago

Is that area zoned "dry" to some degree? I know the Bulldog sells beer and wine, but it seems like there would be an actual bar near campus already if it were allowed under current rules. Or is it just that full liquor licenses are hard to come by in Duluth?

Don Ness

about 8 years ago

Mark Lambert is a responsible developer and has worked closely with the City.  In our planning efforts, we have stressed our interest in having the development oriented towards Woodland Ave leaving a significant buffer from the rest of the neighborhood.  Lambert has always been very accommodating to our requests.

Personally, I'd like to see a pedestrian walkway over Woodland Ave and to see a more direct route between this development and the campus.

To be successful, there needs to be a density of housing and retail that appeals to both students and residents in the neighborhood. It should be development that enhances rather than competes with Mount Royal.

Hot Shot

about 8 years ago

Bingo. It's gotta be a cool and comfortable and accommodating place for everyone. Lest the locals complain about the annoying college kids and the students complain about the squares that live here. 

I've been hoping a neighborhood would pop up in Duluth and become more progressive. I can see how a new retail/nightlife hub could exist here. The population around campus increases umpteen thousand through the year; let's use that to an advantage.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

I hate to say it but students at the Twin Cities campus flock to the chain restaurants on and near campus - like Chipotle, Noodles, etc. This would be a perfect Duluth spot for those chains. I also wonder if Fitger's or Thirsty Pagan would consider another cafe/pub at the new "WoodTown."

B-man

about 8 years ago

He Duluth, do something.

The current set up is ridiculous, no focus of housing for students near the reason they are in this town in the first place?  How can the city council not address this issue? Oh yeah, they did, with the ignorant 300' rule.  

The entire zone around UMD needs to be re-zoned to cater to college housing/ rentals, not make it more difficult for them to have regulated and safe housing options.  

Good on you Mr. Lambert, I really like anyone who can increase the city tax revenue and also fix civil problems in my town.

BTW I live in the targeted neighborhood, own a home, and fully support turning this area into a  student rental focused housing zone.

Oh yeah ... and open a Chipotle too.

Hot Shot

about 8 years ago

It's very refreshing to know you, as someone who would be directly affected, are on board, Mr. Beckman.

Both chains and local food/drink fare would make sense there. Chipotle has been a demand forever, but Fitger's beer would be just as much if a hit. And with a fourth Fitger's-beer-selling establishment opening downtown, surely they have the demand in this city.

Hopefully locals will realize that accommodating the students will make this city and the Woodland neighborhood an even more desirable location. 

Also: job creation. Construction, retail, food service, oh my.

c-freak

about 8 years ago

Let's call it "Duluth Dinktown."

jessige

about 8 years ago

I bet the Burrito Union folks are wishing they'd known this was going to happen.  But this is a great step forward and as a UMD employee I'm really excited for the future relationship between the university and the city.  

However, I also 100% agree with Paul's assessment.  Let the complaining begin.

Baci

about 8 years ago

@ B-Man,

*hitching up britches* - The 300' rule, ignorant or not, has done a lot of good.

1. It forced the issue to be resolved with intentionality, discussion and urban planning. Not just allowing wholesale conversion of neighborhoods into profit streams for out of town rental management companies.
  
2. It attempts to address parking sprawl, which is one of the major issues here. I say attempts b/c it's still difficult to find a parking spot on my block because of all the rentals with 6 occupants and no off street parking for the formerly single family dwelling.

3. It spreads the "issue" to the rest of the city. Prompting us ALL to work together to resolve/evolve.

I agree with you, I like living in the neighborhood. I plan on staying (if you could sell your house, would you?). Over the last two years things have gotten much better. Remove controls (like the '300 rule and enforcement of social host fines) and it'll swing back quick ... and worse. I fully support intentional and managed development of infrastructure to support/integrate students in our community.

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

I live on the east side of Woodland, behind the Middle School off of 24th Avenue East and Seventh Street.  I would love to have a Fitger's brew pub in the neighborhood, and we need to do something about student housing. 
 
But I am very concerned about noise levels increasing, and traffic increasing too.  The original granitoid street is right there on Seventh, and is in pretty bad shape already.  More traffic is going to be hard on this important part of state history.  The neighborhood is nice and quiet, and I would hate for loud college students and their parties, cars, etc., to ruin a lovely residential neighborhood full of historic homes.  

So can someone tell me what the plan is with regards to noise and traffic?

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Because there is not a single decent place to eat on the UMD (especially for international students and faculty), I'd love to see Woodyville have some nice lunch-oriented Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indian cafes as well. Perhaps a mini-international-food court? Maybe a Vietnamese bubble tea/Banh-mi sandwich coffee shop? Panera? Punch pizza?

Baci

about 8 years ago

@emmadogs,

The neighborhood is nice and quiet, and I would hate for loud college students and their parties, cars, etc., to ruin a lovely residential neighborhood full of historic homes. 

Thats how we felt 6 years ago.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

How about if the housing on this site was for car-free students only? Make a pre-requisite...minimal parking space (vistors only)...it would really push the need to improve the ped/bicycle/mass transit infrastructure of the immediate area.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

As captain of Duluth geography, I suppose I should jump in here to note that the former Woodland Middle School is not in the Woodland neighborhood. 

This proposed development is technically in the Chester Park neighborhood. (And, of course, Chester Bowl Park and Lower Chester Park are not in the Chester Park neighborhood, they are in the East Hillside. Don't blame me; I don't make the boundaries, I just enforce them.)

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Paul - good info...then the name, if necessary, must be Chestytown...

PeepsInDuluth

about 8 years ago

Take this survey: http://www.duluthmn.gov/planning/sap/highereducation.cfm

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

@Baci--where is your neighborhood--is it on the other side of Woodland?  And how did you deal with the noise issue (if at all).

@Iron Oregon--great idea to have 'no car' housing, but I wonder if lots of traffic from retail establishments would make it moot.

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

I suppose the name "Chesty-Westy-town" would scare all the students away.

Baci

about 8 years ago

In honor of Bulldog hockey (who throw GREAT parties BTW) I say call it Rinky-Dinky Town. BTW, JK b/c I like the idea of creating intentional urban space for town and gown.

@emmadogs, We call 911. We used to be nice and go over there and knock on the door and remind them politely (and eventually not so politely) that they live in a family neighborhood. Now, we call 911 and ask the dispatcher to ask the officers to not tell the party house who called. Duluth PD and UMDPD have been very responsive and have, if they have enough staff hours, followed up with party houses, sometimes leading to significant fines. It's their efforts that have really had a good impact on the house parties. As far as noise, 19th Ave (where we live) is a party artery ... the dorms empty during the first couple of weeks and the kids (the underage ones who can't go to bars) spill down and roam in gangs between house parties, calling each other on their phones and bellowing about their love lives. They have no thought that if people did that in their parents' neighborhood, their mom and dad would raise hell with the *insert suburb here* city council (who would in turn do something about it and not cave in to distant rental management companies and slum lords) ... grrr ... trying to be positive and progressive ... sorry .. like I said .. it's been better lately ... more discussion (along with 300 foot - pounds of pressure) have led to some planning. I say support intentional development!

adam

about 8 years ago

There's a huge area for student housing right where that football field is.

duluth_bishop

about 8 years ago

I'm not against the development - there are just a few things which make me less than enthusiastic about it:

(1) I'm surprised that a local resident couldn't negotiate purchasing some green-space between them and the development.  They have been at all of the planning meetings and have been assured [by Lambert] that there will be proper buffer between existing residents and the new community.  The city told them "not to worry about it."  (Granted, I don't have public record of this, just talk across the ally as we all have speculated on this project.) 

(2) I don't know real estate; but once the deal is done what's keeping the developer from "scaling the project back" and just throwing up some housing and wrapping the foker in vinyl?  Anybody remember the "truck part store" built up in Hermantown that is now the "area's largest ABC"?  That bait and switch was projected in the news before it happened.  I fully support something well done and classy -- similar to what one may find in the Big Cities, but with the overall demand for housing, what's the incentive?  Whatever goes up there, will be filled to occupancy.  The residential model is what these guys are good at so I'm just skeptical that they will fulfill their commitment of providing a mixed-use development.

There is some room here to fuel the "Trader Joe's" rumor.  Perhaps REI or IKEA are interested in some prime retail space as well.

Please pass the Kool-Aid.

Matt

about 8 years ago

The most important question: will a bar or two be built in this area? It would be very very nice to have something close to campus rather than anywhere in Duluth but near campus.

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

Another question:  does anyone know what effect this would likely have on property values?  Or ability to sell?  

I would guess it would be more difficult to sell a non-rental-appropriate home once this happens (there are some half-million to two-million dollar homes right in that area).

B-man

about 8 years ago

@ Baci--thanks for the feedback--here is some more rambling--

I think the 300 foot rule has done some good in getting attention to the fact that the rental industry here in Duluth was getting a little "loosey goosey."  

The fact that it is discriminatory is the biggest problem I have with it.  It discriminates against the 20,000 students that rent in our community.  Who wants to live in West Duluth when they need to be on campus every day?  For the sake of convenience most students would like to live within walking distance of the college they attend.

The area needs to be rezoned so it is easier for students to live near campus.  The city (hello, Chief Ramsey) needs to keep up the great enforcement that has been happening over the past 4-5 years, and the inspections (hello, Mayor Ness) need to be brought up to current.

I have a rental license for my house.  I got it two weeks before the 300' rule went into effect, still have not been inspected.  What is the point of getting a license if there is no follow up?  Meanwhile I have illegal rentals in my neighborhood and the landlords have no incentive to become legal, the fine for having illegal rentals must be a lot less than the profit that is available.  

I think the students need a place to be students; stay up late, make noise, talk loudly on cell phones, drink and sleep in the yard.  If the neighbors are sleeping in the yard with them no one will be complaining.  Well not no one, as Mr. Lundgren pointed out on the first post, there will always be someone complaining. (Sometimes it's me.)

Resolut

about 8 years ago

Dinkytown is a historic neighborhood on a grid of connected streets full of different types of buildings of different ages, with many different owners.  These characteristics allow Dinkytown to be a vibrant student-centered neighborhood with diverse housing, restaurant, retail, and convenience options.  

I'm not opposed to a new mixed use development oriented to students on this site, but to pretend a developer can conjure up 'Duluth's Dinkytown' is complete fantasy.

carla

about 8 years ago

My Fantasy
First Floor - craft beer and wine bar
Second floor - Asian fusion
Third floor - dance party with incense sticks and view of the lake - no hip hop

zra

about 8 years ago

Tim and Rod (aka, Fitger's Brewhouse, Burrito Union, et. al.) have probably known about this for some time. Tim lives on Woodland still I think ... or very near there. Rod lives someplace farther up toward Hartley.

I've been wishing for an REI up here (the closest one is about 130 miles away in Maple Grove of all places...) for about as long as I've been here (which is longer than the Maple Grove REI has been around). If it happens in MN, the vast majority of it happens here (or north of here).

In other news: Walgreens moves to Super Walgreens mid October. Stewart's Wheel Goods is looking real marketable for retail (if it weren't for the drunk tank being between it and Alakef, that spot would be irresistible to anyone looking to open a storefront.

Still no word on the new pharmacy, the fate of the old Walgreens store, Plaza Jubes remodel, or the front of the old Bridgeman's building (Alakef).

@ndy

about 8 years ago

Not to be too much of an ass, but I must point out a little irony in the comments on this post. What I gather is that people generally want 1) beer; 2) restaurants; 3) shopping establishments; and 4) as little noise/traffic as possible.

If you add lots of retail space, you're going to add lots more traffic and noise. The same applies to housing, to a lesser extent. I am fully supportive of the general idea, and I think it is sorely needed. But, I have to admit that some of the priorities expressed, seem, rather petty.

Any housing in that area that is remotely affordable is going to be filled by students regardless of new commercial establishments. Not that I don't think that a bar, a few more restaurants, etc. aren't great ideas, but I don't see them as a priority.

mega mildred

about 8 years ago

I've always wondered why Duluth had such a pathetically boring college district. Or rather, lacked a college district entirely.  No, Superior doesn't count.

Awesome stuff within walking distance of campus? You got... Bixby's Bagels! And a shitty gas station or two. WTF Duluth?

zra

about 8 years ago

Perhaps because the original intent of the location of the university is to encourage the children to do what their parents are ponying up wads of cash for them to do ... learn something.

Actually, this isn't the original location of the campus either, is it?

Paddy

about 8 years ago

And have you seen the horrible food on campus?  The Chancellor should shut down the whole food system there.  Unhealthy, bland, cheap, high mark-up fast food fluff.

Joel

about 8 years ago

I live near UMD (just by Chester Creek Cafe) and fully support this development.  Getting more student-oriented rentals near UMD will reduce the pressure to convert single-family homes to rentals.  And I'm all for having some more commercial establishments within walking distance -- I want the neighborhood to be more pedestrian oriented. The proposed development is also right on Woodland Ave so I don't see traffic as a major concern.  Finally, while I have no first hand knowledge of Lambert, from what I have heard he does high quality developments. I do hope, though, that the development has more of an urban design and feel to it than Mt. Royal.  I don't want a suburban-style shopping center plopped down in the middle of my beautiful urban neighborhood.

Nobody

about 8 years ago

zra- FYI, the Roseville REI is closer to Duluth than the Maple Grove location (although it is close, about 8 miles difference).

REI has considered Duluth for a store in past.  They have a formula that takes into consideration the population, the number of REI members, the other outdoor retailers in the area, the outdoor opportunities, average income, and other factors.  At least 10 years ago REI was opening stores they called "10Ks" (10,000 sq. ft. stores) in smaller markets.  Duluth was one of the better choices in the state, but it never ranked high enough on a national scale for REI to do anything as there are other markets around the country with better opportunity.

emmadogs- Baci beat me to it.  The Kenwood/Chester Park folks have been dealing with the spillover of campus life for years (a lot more than 6).  I grew up a few blocks from 8th St. Video (when it was actually on 8th St.) and we knew of a couple of "college houses" in the neighborhood, but nothing like it has been for the last 10-15 years.

Fist Shaker

about 8 years ago

Get off your lazy arses!

Frankly, I think there has been an effort (intentional?) to keep the UMD students (and their recreational/food/printing $$) cooped up on campus. UMD is like a small nation state dropped in the middle of residential neighborhoods. When it had a smaller student population, this fact went unnoticed and exploited by a few savvy businesses. Now it's incumbent for UMD and City officials to work to create the environment that works for everybody. 

When people like Drew Digby inform long-term residents around the campus they better accept the transformation of their neighborhoods into what could become student tract housing like St. Cloud, it really shows what side the bread is buttered on. 

Concerned long-term residents and homeowners have routinely been ignored, belittled at meetings and all but excluded from the process. The committee to determine how this evolution is going to take place has one resident on it ... the rest is UMD, city and landlords/rental-management types. 

Homeowners and neighbors, the current state of affairs is your fault because you are not vocal and active. Beware! Participate now or watch the 3-story prefabs pop up and block your view of the lake.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Fist Shaker - just an FYI: at least 2 of the Planning Commission members are residents in the affected area. Not that that makes any difference.

Fist Shaker

about 8 years ago

Thanks I.O. -- Point is, there is an under representation of residents on the planning commission and that will have an impact on the final outcome. The least concerned resident can do is Take This Survey. The most is get involved, to save the character of your city before it's too late.

DJ/MN

about 8 years ago

Finally! Student-oriented housing and retail close to campus.  Why anyone would want to attend UMD and live in this sterile campus area is beyond me. It's such a boring area. Where are the funky bookstores, the ethnic restaurants where a college kid can fill the belly for not too much cash? My college town in Michigan in the 1960s was much the same -- wouldn't wish that for students today.

I live near campus and welcome this development.

jessige

about 8 years ago

I think Baci should have bumper stickers printed up: "I fully support intentional and managed development of infrastructure to support/integrate students in our community." 

I understand that people like Fist Shaker don't appreciate the diversity and vitality UMD/LSC/CSS/UWS students contribute to the community, but I wonder how they would feel if the revenue the colleges generate for Duluth were to reduce or disappear.  This city would look a helluva lot different if those students of UMD, LSC and CSS weren't here--not to mention that the faculty and staff members who live here because of those students.  

I drove through Superior the other day and was amazed to see all the "Welcome students" signs in the yards for UW and WITC.  Superior has yellow jackets painted on their streets near campus.  I only wish that some Duluthians were half as welcoming and appreciative of the social and financial contributions that students make every day.  

I'm also curious about the statement that not enough "residents" are on the planning commission.  Isn't residency within the city limits a requirement to sit on the commission?  I reviewed the membership on the City's website, and though I know Drew Digby used to work at UMD and Rebecca Covington recently graduated from UMD, I'm not sure I see anyone who is directly connected to the university.  So what you really mean, then, is that you would like "residents of Chester Park who think the same way you do" on the commission.  

The reality is that we cannot expect to reap the benefits of being a college town without making some concessions.  We can either do it as Baci says, in an intentional and managed way, or we can continue to foster a negative and backward attitude toward students.  I, for one, vote for the former, and I thank Mayor Ness, the planning commission, and the current administration of UMD for their efforts.  I also applaud those residents of Chester Park who are willing to create positive relationships with both the university at large, and with individual students.  It's those small steps that have helped create the foundation that I hope we continue to build upon.

Deke

about 8 years ago

As someone who grew up in Woodland (walked to Chester Park, Woodland and East) and who also lived a literal baseball toss from Annie's in Dinkytown in college, I can honestly say that nothing they can build can create that kind of atmosphere. That is something that's been developing since the 1920s.

What they CAN build, however, is something that can both alleviate the housing pressure, as well as assure residents of the surrounding streets--Clover on over to Wallace--that they will still have a quiet, relatively normal neighborhood. It sounds like they are doing what they can to take the neighborhood into account, and trust me when I say that isn't always the case in other places.

I wonder if those living on 24th will be most affected as that might become an even busier conduit from the lake up to Woodland. They will need to put lights in at the corner of 24th and 4th if that's the case -- it's nearly a deathtrap as it is.

Fist Shaker

about 8 years ago

@Jessige  -- My goal is to get people involved in the process. It's gotten to the point it has because there has been a lack of involvement ... it's just what the entrenched interests want ... all the effected parties to roll over again and not say or do anything. The status quo will not do! They can point at a few who do show up and say "crackpot" or "townie" and give them little power in the process, but when the whole city speaks up and demands a fricken inclusive process and demands to retain the character of their neighborhoods and city, then they gotta listen and that's all I want! 

But the residents (and students who pay +$400ea.x6 renters to live in a crap hole place with no parking) have been either numbed into complacency or worse yet manipulated into fighting each other. I'm absolutely not anti-student, I want to live in a college town ... not a town that has a college in it where a few vested elite make $$ from raping neighborhoods and student renters. 

BTW I squarely aim at UMD, whose past administrations (and lackeys) have a long history of thumbing their nose at residents around them (hopefully this will change). St. Scholastica has been significantly more community connected and has different policies about student conduct and residency. Please disagree with me but at least get involved!

jessige

about 8 years ago

@Fist Shaker, thanks for the response.  I think we have more in common than I made it out to be, and for that I apologize -- and I'm glad.  I've been in Duluth (and at UMD) for 10 years, and I agree with you completely that the administration for the first 9 years was disconnected from the needs of the community.  I truly believe that has changed, and I truly believe that it's an exciting time to be involved in this process.  Duluth is going to look different in a few years, and you're right that we all have a responsibility to contribute to the dialogue.  Cheers!

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Wondering how neighbors will react to more student housing and development in the area?  Who else remembers Old Main, 1993?

The story says suspects pled guilty to arson, but there are no more details there.  The gossip I heard at the time was that it was fueled by neighbors who would rather see charred remains rather than mixed use or student housing.  I was away at college at the time, maybe I have some facts wrong.  But that's what I heard people saying.  Still, imagine how different things would be if Old Main had been re-imagined rather than torched.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

I think that's a stretch Goose. The Old Main fire was started by a stupid kid ... back when we were stupid kids.

hbh1

about 8 years ago

Yeah, sorry Wildgoose. I knew that stupid kid/accidental arsonist back in the day. They were just fucking around and it got out of hand.

Lydia

about 8 years ago

Changes that make neighborhoods and business areas easy to walk and bike in will be good for all - students, permanent residents and visitors. Development that mirrors traditional urban grids, rather than strip mall/suburb sprawl, has proven to work better for people and doesn't focus on cars. It's happening in cities across the county.

We've learned from the development mistakes of the 1960s to '90s. Now let's put that knowledge into action.

I'll look forward to positive changes around Mt. Royal and then to Kenwood. Both are in easy walking and biking distance for college students who, for the most part, are young, healthy, fit and active. Same with many residents.

Let's plow down the strip malls and rebuild human-scale businesses. Let's dig up the parking lots and plant trees, make paths and put in bike parking. Let's make it easier to walk, ride a bike or take a bus than it is to drive and park a car.

Baci

about 8 years ago

I've always thought that the intentional development of this area represented an opportunity for some graduate students in urban planning ... hmm, where could we find some people like that?.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Baci - unfortunately, the urban planning program you referenced is on the Twin Cities campus and those students would be unlikely to take on a project up here. To my knowledge, there is no urban planning program at any of the 3 local universities.

jessige

about 8 years ago

Is this what we're talking about?

http://www.d.umn.edu/geog/urban_studies/main/about.php

Baci

about 8 years ago

Now we're talkin .. what? students crafting a student focused area the intentionally integrates? Mr. Lambert, I think we've found your endowment legacy.

The Big E

about 8 years ago

I still am annoyed that we re-did Woodland and ignored the mixed-use streets idea that we claimed was sort of important.

PeepsInDuluth

about 8 years ago

Here is what students want:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/22/living/dorm-rooms/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Paddy

about 8 years ago

Mixed-use streets is a good idea for that area.  Too bad they didn't do it.

ruby2sd4y

about 8 years ago

I'm also surprised that when they did re-do Woodland Ave, that they didn't put in some sort of crossing at that time as Mayor Ness mentioned, and make it mixed use, but it is what it is.

As a 20+ year resident, I have walked and biked from my house (off 19th/18th) to Mt Royal many times, not so much in winter - or just walked to the corner of Woodland/24th and caught a bus to Mt Royal or back if hauling groceries and/or books, and never felt unsafe. My kids walked/rode bikes to Holy Rosary and East (as well as to Chester Bowl) with no dramas. Aside from not enough bike racks in the area at the shopping centers (and downtown, although there are more downtown since they've installed the art ones). Plus, more bike lanes throughout the city and especially these neighborhoods would be very good.

I'd also prefer to see some new little restaurants with the international foods as mentioned by Iron Oregon above, or something like this little gem on a corner(it's literally on a little corner and has some outdoor seating), but not chains. Something could fit into the old Video Vision and that corner with the now-dead gas station (like the Dominos did across the street), perhaps a little ethnic takeaway/drive-thru, or with limited seating.

Also for many years I had hoped for a bar/pub (hole-in-the-wall/burger joint -- Anchor/Big Daddies-style sort) in the Mt Royal or Kenwood Shopping Centers (only Subway/Hardee's/Arbys/Peak Bagel (and whatever it keeps morphing into)/Erbs & Gerbs - which are good too - for kids and jobs) as the businesses came and went - but nope. We did get Bixby's, then Sara's Table (not cheap/a pub - but good for what it is), and Burrito Union (I totally miss when Taste of Saigon was up here), both walking distance for me - but the area could easily hold/support two/a few more in Mt Royal and in Kenwood - again, I'd much rather see hole-in-the-wall/mom-n-pop/ethnic sorts of neighborhood pubs/restaurants than chains.

I've also always thought they should use the space at Old Main vs letting it sit there - make UMD housing (using the idea of students without cars as mentioned above, as it's walking/riding distance/near the bus line, and/or for older/grad students *not freshmen/sophomores* - students who are quieter/more focused and want the convenience of campus housing vs a rental house), and incorporate the historical part in some way as well.

Duluth and these neighborhoods have so many possibilities, yet everything always seems focused on DT or Canal Park, and is poorly or seemingly not at all planned - as in everything is an afterthought. Oh we shoulda ...  And, so many of the empty businesses should be filled/converted long before building more new.

The idea of the students working things out as a part of their schooling/internships/grad school, etc., as Baci mentioned, is also a great idea - and should be utilized more. A win-win for sure.

(So much more could be done in/from West Duluth out to Fond-du-Lac to grow that area too, as well as the Hillside, but those are for other posts.)

PS - for those wanting an REI - aren't all the current outfitters/sporting goods stores (many local, not chains) in the area enough? Is it just for the climbing wall? Memberships? I'm curious.

zra

about 8 years ago

I spend the vast majority of my money at Trailfitters, but REI carries a lot of stuff they don't.

zra

about 8 years ago

Add to that, I don't spend money at Gander ... it's a waste of time going up the hill, and Northwest Outfitters might be cheaper on some items, but the sales tax gets you.

So to answer your question: yes, but...

Trailfitters is my go-to shop. It's quick and convenient, and the folks there are hella helpful! That said, however, there are really only one or two shops that I would consider spending my money. Trailfitters is one, and the other being Duluth Pack.

REI gives me dividends on the stuff I buy there every year.

Scott M.

about 8 years ago

I cannot wait for the Trader Joes.

zra

about 8 years ago

Don't get your hopes up. Trader Joe's is probably not gonna happen.

The Big E

about 8 years ago

I miss University Service already, but if someone turned it into a cool diner like this one, that would be sweet.

ruby2sd4y

about 8 years ago

Ah OK, thanks Zra. Maybe ask Trailfitters to order in the gear (as you're probably not the only one interested) and/or to start a dividend program similar to REI's -- which could be a win-win for all and keep their loyals running off to REI. 

Yeah Big E&B, that diner is about the same size as the Cuban place in the cities. Actually, it almost looks a little bigger than Victors.

Claire

about 8 years ago

I wish they'd make the area around Mt Royal shopping center more biker-friendly. I bike through campus to the shopping center, then walk my bike across Woodland at the stoplight so I don't get killed trying to cross on the road (obeying the rules of the road). When the Woodland development into a student area happens, I hope they take bikers and pedestrians into account, when figuring out access between campus and the development.

zra

about 8 years ago

If Trailfitters was to operate its business like a cooperative similar to REI, it would have done so already. 

I have been an REI customer since living in Seattle back in the early 1990s, and I trust its customer service, selection and prices. I generally tend to remain loyal to the brands/retail outlets that give me the best service and selection. Both REI and TF have done exactly that.

Anyhoo ... back to the issue at hand: surely a more centrally located center of social activity would benefit both Duluth and UMD enormously, though I have noticed a shocking dearth of coffee houses in this city.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

News release:

The city of Duluth invites the public to attend the Higher Education Small Area Plan Public Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at Hope United Methodist Church, 301 W. St. Marie St., in the Fellowship Hall. Small Area Plans build on the goals, policies and implementation strategies in the city's 2006 Comprehensive Land Use Plan and serve to augment the plan by providing more detailed recommendations. The Higher Education Small Area Plan includes the areas around two of the city's colleges, UMD and St. Scholastica. The purpose of the plan is to balance the needs of colleges and students with the needs of area residents. As part of the plan, a market study is being conducted to determine residential and commercial demand and development opportunities. Development Concepts Inc. was hired to conduct the market study and will have a representative at the meeting to present highlights and recommendations from the study. To learn more about the Higher Education Small Area Plan, click here. The draft market study will be posted online when available. The public can also submit comments on the website.

G-Ma

about 8 years ago

Can we manage new development and student services without trashing local neighborhoods?  Lots of universities...the U of M Twin Cities included, have had to deal with neighborhood decline in Dinkytown type neighborhoods, which caused dangerous living situations for students and long term residents alike.  Programs had to be developed and funded to encourage homeowners to invest and live in university neighborhoods to create stability.  It's important and prudent to keep a good mix of resident owners alongside student development to keep the neighborhoods safe and habitable.  New restaurants/shops can be great for everyone.  The goal should be to avoid trashing the neighborhoods along the way.

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