Downtown Duluth task force outlines plans to keep public safe

DULUTH, MN. (CBS 3 Duluth) — Amid rising crime and public safety concerns in downtown Duluth, the mayor on Monday outlined a seven-point plan to improve the situation.

“The first thing is that our task force is requesting, suggesting and recommending that we hire an additional prosecutor in the city attorney’s office,” Larson said.

She added that this will help expedite the processing of the current backlog.

However, this recommendation is the only one that deals directly with crime.

“We will be activating walking groups in our downtown during peak hours when people are coming and going,” Larson said.

She explained that this means they will partner with downtown businesses to encourage people to get out and walk, serving as a neighborhood watch.

There will also be weekly events in the town center square and more investment in street art.

Co-Chair Shaun Floerke said art may seem insignificant, but it can make a difference.

“It’s not paint on the wall. It’s painting that brings people together,” he said. “And these are the people who are proud of where they are and want to improve on that.”

The task force also aims to resolve permission issues, so sidewalks can be widened and downtown restaurants can expand outdoor seating.

A handful of plans that include public outreach for more ideas on how to improve downtown.

They will set up an “activation fund” for ideas that come from other members of the community.

“Not all ideas come from a 57-year-old white man. Right?” said Floerke.

The task force also wants a study on housing in the city center after having aroused the interest of developers.

It is not yet clear how the public can provide more ideas to the task force.

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