Walz Touts "Catalytic" Duluth Medical District Project

Baihly Warfield
Updated: June 03, 2019 06:27 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that nearly $100 million in state funding for Duluth's medical district will be catalytic for the entire region. 


Walz said it is an example of "what functioning government looks like." 

"When we have a government that gets its work done, when it listens to the leaders in the communities, when we partner together, both public and private partnerships, when we prioritize the jobs of good, hardworking Minnesotans, we come up with a pretty good result," Gov. Walz said.

Between Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital, the private entities are investing nearly $1 billion in the medical district. 

CEO David Herman said Essentia is coming to the end of the Vision Northland design and development phase. He said they are ready to put in an order for more than 11,000 tons of American-made steel. 

"With our partners in the building trades and at McGough Construction, we will provide for more than 5,600 on-site jobs and more than 3,600 off-site jobs through the life of this project," Herman said.

St. Luke's broke ground this spring on an expansion and Emergency Room relocation. 

Mayor Emily Larson said the state funding will help ensure public benefit through the project, and Walz hopes it will spur further economic development by drawing startup companies and entrepreneurs to the area.

"This is now a huge draw for people looking, where do I want to have a high quality of life? Where do I want to participate in the outdoors? Where do I want to do a startup company? And where is the capacity there with the education institutions, the workforce development, the labor opportunities?" Walz said. "Those are all things we thought about with this."

Walz and Larson agreed that millions in state funding given to Rochester for its own medical district projects laid the groundwork for Duluth to go after a similar request. They both said there were lessons learned from the Rochester proposal that they brought into the Duluth one. 

"As governor, I'm encouraging other communities to think about this," Walz said "Let's build on our assets. Let's build these strong, bipartisan, visionary projects that bring vitality to our community, and let's get to the capital and make it happen."

Essentia is set to begin construction in the fall.


Baihly Warfield

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