Updated: June 05, 2021 10:33 PM
Created: June 05, 2021 05:21 PM
Living on the largest fresh water lake in the world comes with its fair share of perks, including Duluth’s beloved Lakewalk. But, the Lakewalk has been under construction for the past several years after multiple storms tore it apart. Now, construction is complete and the Lakewalk is set to reopen sometime this week, though the exact date has not yet been announced.
“It’s been our goal to be open by Grandmas Marathon and obviously we are going to hit that,” Mayor Emily Larson said.
The new and improved Lakewalk will come with new features. The boardwalk was widened from six feet to ten feet and the asphalt trail from seven feet to twelve feet. A concrete wall and stones were also put in to provide extra protection from large waves.
“All that rock—you’re talking tons and tons of it got moved in here and placed each individually,” Jim Topie, President of Friends of the Lakewalk said.
Pollinator plots and a plaza area were also installed.
“We have this huge new plaza area which will be able to be used by the public for certain things,” Topie said.
The cost of the entire project was close to $22 million dollars. Throughout the project, some citizens and city councilors expressed concerns about the cost. Businesses also wondered about how the Lakewalk's new look would impact them.
“There were some moments of concern, for example, how would the view change? Or how will you still have the ability to run from just the water to the board walk to the hotels?” Matt Baumgardner, President of the Canal Park Business Association said. “And those questions are real and some of those things have changed, but they’ve changed for us to still be here and for us to have a future as a business district.”
Now that the project is complete, the hope is that it will bring business to the area and that many people will be able to enjoy it.
“It’s kind of a staple around here. You get ice cream, you take the Lake walk and its beautiful—especially in the summer months,” Alicia Severin of Duluth said.
“I think it's great. Its gives the exposure to the people to be able to come down here and see that this is a great destination spot to visit,” Logan Hemmesch of Elk River said.
There is expected to be a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Lakewalk when it officially reopens later this week.