Go west, young man

Star Tribune: Duluth visitors, please look to your right, too

The focal point of Duluth Mayor Don Ness’ State of the City Address will be creating a secondary tourist destination along the St. Louis River.

“We have the largest freshwater estuary in the world in the St. Louis River,” Mayor Don Ness said. “You have all of these amazing natural amenities and outdoor recreation experiences in a fairly small concentrated area.”

The plan comes as hundreds of millions have been spent – with a similar sum still to come – to clean up the St. Louis River, saddled for decades with old industrial pollution. It is in concert with efforts to revitalize the long-neglected working-class part of town, where factory hands raised families in tight-knit communities near their jobs.


Ryan Nelson

about 10 years ago

I would love, love, love to see a more extensive revitalization to the West. I've lived along 41st Ave West and now on 59th Ave West and I love the neighborhood. There are so many great small, local spots, similar to the places that give downtown and Canal Park their charm.

It's exciting that a West Duluth Night has been added to the Homegrown Music Festival as well. As a local musician, I've heard so many times that a lot of the downtown crowd don't want to travel all the way to West Duluth for show's at Beaner's, Mr. D's and so on.

Hopefully getting the city to again recognize the potential of West Duluth, east into the West End (where tons of amazing retail spots sit empty) and west to the river.  I love that I live in West Duluth, and I'd love to see more of Duluth come out that direction.


about 10 years ago

Hey, I can see my house in that pic.

For the record, Clough Island in the foreground of that pic is actually in Wisconsin.  The newspaper article seems to suggest that it is part of Duluth.

I've defended this area vociferously in many different areas as there is definitely a stigma to living out this way.  The housing is cheaper (my 150K house would have been 250-300K in Lakeside)and we have parks and green space and quiet right out our back door.  My only hope is that the City decides to put in a public golf course on the old steel mill site.

Don Ness

about 10 years ago

Thanks Paul.   Just one point of clarification - my speech tonight will be about the revitalization of the St Louis River neighborhoods - improving the visitor experience will be just one aspect.  

Other highlights include - environmental clean-up, new job creation, public infrastructure improvements, and supporting area housing stock (and the marketability of these homes).  

Our goal is to make sure that when someone moves to town that realtors are sure to show homes along the river and not just out east, Hermantown, or Esko.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

As a local musician, I've heard so many times that a lot of the downtown crowd don't want to travel all the way to West Duluth for show's at Beaner's, Mr. D's and so on.
According to Google Maps, it takes 6 minutes to drive from Pizza Luce to Beaner's Central. From Burrito Union, it takes 11 minutes. It's 12 minutes from UMD. I've written about this before, but the distance is purely psychological. I have great hopes for West Duluth's near-future. Whole Foods Co-op is coming here soon. The Grand Avenue chalet at Spirit Mountain is going to bring a lot of new opportunities for businesses. People are loving Pak's Green Corner, which is a great addition to the neighborhood. We have longstanding quality places like Gannucci's Italian Market and the largest sit-down branch of Sammy's Pizza, plus the aforementioned Beaner's. I'd like to see more of a restaurant scene take hold, since the majority of the restaurants here are unfortunately fast-food options. That could conceivably happen as more people are crossing that psychological barrier of making that whopping 10-minute journey west.

Nick L

about 10 years ago

My commute from Woodland to Downtown takes as long as my former commute from Morgan Park.  

One great part of living west was access to trails.  The ride from my Morgan Park garage to the DW&P Grant-In-Aid trail took 8 minutes.  From there I had my choice of DW&P, Spirit Mt., Skyline, Mission Creek, Western Waterfront and the Munger Trail.  Mountain biking heaven.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

The trails in Duluth's western neighborhoods are truly phenomenal, as Nick mentions. When the Cross City Trail is completed and connects the Munger Trail to Downtown Duluth ... I don't know, I can't even comprehend how sweet that will be.

Ryan Nelson

about 10 years ago

Barrett, you're exactly right that the trip out West is completely psychological. But I hear so many times that people don't want to make the trek.  Perhaps it's the fact that it's not within walking distance like everything in the RT's-to-Sir Ben's corridor.

As for the Cross City Trail, that sounds magical and like a great way for my commute from 59th and Grand to Downtown to be taken by bike.


about 10 years ago

I live in West Duluth and love it out here.  I think the proposed developments/enhancements to this party of the city would be very good.  

However, I'm a bit selfish in that I LOVE going out on the trails and seeing very few, if any, people!

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

Ryan I hear it a lot too. When people say "it's too far to drive," what they usually mean is "it's too far to drive drunk."


about 10 years ago

I watched Mayor Ness' address and I found Louwagie's article in the Strib desperately imbalanced and misrepresentative of the mayor's manifesto. Score 1 Ness.

Just because a reinstatement of a "tourism" tax was bandied, I got the impression the reporter ran back to Minneapolis and scribbled down a story about Canal Park West.

Kudos to Mayor Ness for his vision. I'm looking at the riverside neighborhoods with a fresh pair of eyes.

The possibilities for having your own boat docked at a marina a stone's throw from home, the proximity to ski trails, bike paths, bus lines can only be enhanced by all the other stuff readers have posted -- Beaner's, Whole Foods Co-op, etc.

I hope that traditional neighborhoods are kept intact, that the numbered street grid isn't abandoned as new housing estates expand the built environment and that a variety of housing options -- detached single family, duplexes, apartment buildings, townhouses, mixed-use (commercial + residential) are evenly distributed.

Also, I hadn't heard about the Grand Avenue project. As with what I proposed for London Road years ago, what about a complete redesign? Streetscape to include dividing roadbed with center median containing off-road, raised bike lanes like Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, Queens (NYC).

New idea for Foster Road: A center median bike lane

These could be climatically adapted to Minnesota.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

By the way, the Spirit Mountain Riverside Chalet, host of the State of the City Address, is shopping for some art.

Or, specifically ...

The Duluth Public Arts Commission will be requesting proposals from trained and experienced artists to develop work at the chalet to satisfy the city's One Percent for the Arts Program.

Read all about it in the Request for Qualifications.

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