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Column: Volunteers needed to plant flowers downtown

Kristi Stokes

Our community tends to make a transformation when the temperatures rise and finally give us that taste of late spring and early summer that we all yearn for. It’s fun to watch the sidewalks, Lakewalk and various trails fill with individuals who are enjoying what Duluth has to offer. It’s a reawakening time of sorts for individuals in the Northland, a time when we can rid ourselves of any leftover blanket of winter or spring and truly welcome summer. There’s a rite of passage and a sense of pride in preparing for a new season.

Duluth’s Downtown Waterfront District soon will be welcoming in a splash of color to help beautify the business district, and we’re seeking volunteers who wish to lend a helping hand.

The 12th annual “Dig in for the Downtown Waterfront” will be held on Wednesday, June 4 at Bayfront Park. Approximately 150 streetscape planters are lined up in the parking lot, just waiting for volunteers to give them new life by planting flowers in them. And no worries; you don’t even need a green thumb, as City of Duluth park maintenance crews will be on hand to provide any needed expertise. So, pull together some colleagues for a fun team-building service project or ask your neighbor to join you for a morning of digging in for a good cause.

When I think back to that first year when the Greater Downtown Council put out a call for volunteers, we thought we would be challenged with trying to determine how all of those planters would get filled and then maintained throughout the summer season. Thanks to the great sense of community pride, volunteers came out in force and then asked when they could return to help out again. We have come to rely on that community pride and volunteers who wish to leave a lasting impression on our central business district.

This annual beautification project is an example of how we all come together for the betterment of our downtown. Property owners provide the funding for the flowers, volunteers lend a hand in planting, city crews take the lead in cleaning the planters and moving them out onto the sidewalks and our Clean & Safe Team takes pride in maintaining them throughout the season. We’re also pleased to have the Inn on Lake Superior return as our gracious host, providing a free lunch to all volunteers when the work party is complete.

And that work party doesn’t require a large time commitment. With a large group of volunteers, we can have all of the planters filled in just over an hour. So, grab your gardening gloves and join us at 10 a.m. June 4. Together, we are doing great things to strengthen and beautify the heart of our community.

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

Kristi Stokes

Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth. Contact her at 727-8549.