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Props for Duluth’s Innovating Economy

Twin Cities Business magazine takes an in-depth look at Duluth, MN’s push to diversify and energize its commercial and civic life. Investments, including LISC’s, in infrastructure and workforce and business development are having a broadly felt impact in areas ranging from manufacturing to aviation to the arts.

The excerpt below is from:
Innovative Duluth: A special report on how the North Shore city is reinventing itself.
by Gene Rebeck, Twin Cities Business

There’s a slogan Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood uses to brand its revitalized commercial district: “Crafting Something Great.” And in a sense, it’s a phrase that could describe ambitious efforts happening throughout the city. Located just west of downtown, Lincoln Park was a solid working-class neighborhood during Duluth’s industrial heyday, but as heavy industry began to disappear in the 1970s, the neighborhood fell into economic decline.

Attracted by the neighborhood’s location, solid buildings and low rents, a new generation of entrepreneurs are working to revitalize Lincoln Park. A few years ago, these newcomers, in alliance with existing businesses in the neighborhood and several nonprofits, developed what they’ve named the Craft Business District. This homegrown economic-development idea has brought new life to a long-distressed area.

“What I love about who we are is that we don’t wait around for other people to give us solutions,” says Emily Larson, Duluth’s mayor since January 2016. “We see our challenges, we identify opportunities and then we establish the partnerships to get it done.”

Duluth’s renaissance began during the administration of Don Ness, Larson’s predecessor. While Ness helped get the ball rolling, the city now has its own momentum. Through its utilities and health care providers, educational institutions, private enterprises, arts and entertainment community, and busy transportation hubs (air, rail and water) Duluth is renewing itself; it’s becoming a vibrant city where, for the first time in decades, people are deciding to move there because of its location, rather than despite it. Continued [+]...