Kristi Stokes is the president of the Greater Downtown Council in Duluth. Contact her at 727-8549.
- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
I remember, as a little kid in my central Wisconsin hometown, that there were two things I couldn't miss during the holidays. They both involved visiting the downtown and a prominent store. The storefront window displays were mesmerizing and magical. On any trip downtown, I would beg my parents to drive by that store to take in "Christmas in motion." If we had the time, we'd all pile out of the car so that I could run from window to window, watching in awe. That same store had a talking tree. Somehow, "Bruce the Spruce" knew me when I ventured into the children's section.
Dining out and downtown Duluth are made for each other; it's like apple pie and ice cream. As a mid-sized central business district, our offerings are top-notch with dozens of eating establishments within walking distance. So, when we survey individuals about their top reasons for coming downtown, it's no surprise that our great variety of restaurants attract the crowds. And now, many of those restaurants are teaming up for an encore presentation of the Greater Downtown Council's popular Eat Downtown - Duluth Restaurant Week. That's right.
The kids are back in school and the temperatures are taking their first quick nosedive. It seems fitting that it's time to start thinking about Christmas decorations for Bentleyville Tour of Lights. That's right. In just two weeks, volunteers will be needed to converge on Bayfront Park to start the setup process for our hometown magical lighting display. Here's your chance to play a role in the spectacular showcase of millions of lights along our downtown waterfront. Bentleyville is looking for volunteers to assist with set-up every weekend from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2.
In every profession, it’s important to see how you stack up to the competition or how you handle trends impacting your industry or trade. The same can be said about our downtown. As an organization, the Greater Council frequently reviews new concepts hitting downtowns across the country, and we analyze how to make informed decisions about trends that are shaping downtowns across the country. We often learn from the successes or challenges faced by those who have encountered issues before us.
I often remark about the great things that can happen in our community when we all work together. We can take on challenges together and become more united. We can share success together and become more united. And I believe that the momentum continues to build in our downtown because we see the value in partnerships and pooling resources. Just this week, the Duluth City Council unanimously approved a five-year term extension of the Duluth Downtown Waterfront District, a special service district operated by the Greater Downtown Council.
Duluth is known for its active, community-oriented lifestyle. Plus, we recently gained victory as Outside Magazine’s best outdoors town in the country. So it seems quite logical that we would take an amazing outdoor adventure and adapt it to an urban setting. And that’s exactly what we’re doing, once again, as we send people rappelling from the rooftop of a downtown building as part of an innovative summer fundraiser. Over the Edge, presented by Western Bank, returns to Superior Street during the Sidewalk Days Festival in July.
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.
Spring is a time to think about new beginnings, a fresh start. That’s why we’re kicking off a new program to encourage individuals to support our local businesses in Duluth’s Downtown Waterfront District. It’s no secret that we all endured a long and challenging winter. That also means retail sales didn’t break any records here, either.
If you are looking to eat out during lunch or dinner, it’s more than likely that downtown Duluth is your destination. With so many restaurants offering such a great variety of cuisine, sometimes it’s just hard to choose a location. We’re giving you yet another reason to check out our member businesses thanks to a popular promotion. Downtown Duluth’s dining extravaganza returns later this month with “Eat Downtown-Duluth Restaurant Week.” This foodie frenzy, now in its fifth year, will kick off March 31 and run through April 11.
In the last few years, Duluth has made great strides to improve its parking management system. And next week, yet another change will come for those who visit the downtown and park on Superior Street. The City of Duluth and Greater Downtown Council teamed up in 2010 to hire a panel of nationally recognized parking experts to develop recommendations and an action plan to enhance and improve the downtown parking experience.