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Advocating for housing

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce has been an inspired partner within our community's collaborative effort to bring additional housing to our Zenith City. We are highly motivated because we recognize the strong link between attractive housing options and expanded economic opportunity in Duluth.

Consequently, the chamber has also been a vigorous participant in a concurrent effort to bring additional jobs and opportunities to our community. Our combined, collaborative efforts have resulted in significant job growth in manufacturing, aviation, higher education, tourism and construction. There are nearly 1,000 existing jobs that need to be filled by employers located in our fair city.

Our community's shared challenge is the distinct correlation that exists between the inability of our employers to fill these 1,000 openings and the lack of affordable housing options. Moreover, the limited supply of housing is causing the average sale price to rise. Both these factors combine to make housing less available and affordable for an increasing number of community members.

Housing opportunities, in various configurations and at all price points, are needed to maintain a vibrant business community and to ensure a healthy, thriving community. Our housing challenge is amplified because Duluth is a well-established, 144-year-old city that is nearly fully built. Thus, our housing opportunities will be made possible primarily through the redevelopment of existing neighborhoods.

This redevelopment of existing lots and mature neighborhoods will require specific action. The City of Duluth must continue to limit fees and regulations that increase the cost of renovation. The Chamber is an advocate for additional incentives to preserve and upgrade existing homes.

We also applaud local governments as they increasingly identify and market suitable residential building sites. This includes the continued clearing of blighted properties and making tax-forfeited properties more available and attractive to prospective homeowners and home developers.

It is an exciting time to live and work in Duluth. Meeting the need for additional housing is a challenge that any historic, industrial city would welcome. We have worked hard to generate the job growth that is creating this need for additional housing. These are growth-related trials that Duluth has not experienced since the 1950s.

We are up to the task. Each house or apartment added to our community provides additional individuals and families the opportunity to make Duluth their home. This is why we remain tireless advocates for bringing jobs and housing to 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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