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Column: Duluth shines brightly

David Ross

Our shining city on the hill is shining brightly.

Construction is beginning on several building projects in our historic downtown. The Maurices headquarters building is underway. Construction will soon begin on the Duluth Transit Authority’s Multimodal Center. These are the largest of the several projects that are being constructed this summer. They combine to represent the largest investment in the history of our downtown.

Additionally, Duluthians are working. Duluth has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. This is even more encouraging when we realize that Minnesota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

The good news continues. Two weeks ago, our community learned that Duluth will be fortified by the recent passage of the 2014 state bonding bill. Our Zenith City will receive funding for all three of our established legislative priorities: the Spirit Mountain water project, the Wade Stadium renovation and the NorShor Theater & Arts Center restoration.

Spirit Mountain received $3.4 million from the state. It will be used to acquire land rights, design, and construct a water system which will deliver water directly from the St. Louis River to the mountain. The water will be used for snow-making purposes. This efficient and environmentally safe water source will allow Spirit Mountain to extend its ski season. It will concurrently allow more of Duluth’s municipal water to be directed to homes and businesses on the far western end of our fair city.

For the past six years, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with our city officials and our state representatives to advocate for state funding support to help revitalize the Historic Wade Stadium. Thankfully, the stadium received $2.3 million from the 2014 state bonding bill. Local workers will soon rebuild the stadium’s magnificent brick walls. A new athletic field will be installed. This new field will be brightly illuminated by a new lighting system. This funding has saved the Wade.

The bonding bill also included $6.95 million for the restoration of our historic NorShor Theatre & Arts Center. This restoration project will result in a 750-seat theatre along with a new arts center and classrooms. This state bonding will contribute toward bringing this iconic community treasure back to our community. The NorShor will, once again, provide an elegant live performance venue that will serve Duluth and our surrounding region. The six-story NorShor marquee tower will once again shine brightly within our downtown nightscape.

The above-mentioned developments are cause for celebration and optimism. It is an exciting time to work and live in Duluth.

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751 or dross@duluthchamber.com.

David Ross

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751.

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