City councilors hear concerns and applause from residents at tonight’s council meeting

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The Duluth City Council heard concerns as well as applause at tonight’s council meeting.

Skateboarders from around the area applauding the work of city councilors after fighting for nearly 10 years for a new skate park. Damage Boardshop hosted “skate to city hall” in support of an allocation of $300,000 with an additional $40,000 to help with the completion of the park.

Tonight, councilors passed the allocation for the GND Rec skate park.

The Gary New Duluth Recreation (GND Rec) is in the process of building this. A spokesperson from GND Duluth says that the project will be done in the spring.

Damage Duluth store manager Wyatt Lindberg says that they have been fighting for this project for almost 10 years. He also expressed gratitude towards councilors by saying that he on behalf of the skating community feel grateful to be heard.

Damage Duluth as well as GND are still fundraising for the new skate park. If you would like to donate click here or stop into Damage for cash donations.

Now to get down to other business, the DECC asked councilors to approve $1-million in credit for what they call a “cash cushion.” A DECC representative says the money is more so for backup than anything.

City Councilors passed the motion as long as the DECC gives them monthly spending summaries.

Then we heard concerns from renters in Duluth. Duluth residents as well as councilors voiced concerns about the lack of house inspectors in the area. Councilor Azrin Awal spoke about personal experiences and why the need is there. “40% of our residents are renters, and since COVID-19 there has been a backlog of house inspections.”

The motion failed with a 5-3 vote from the full council.

Another concern came on behalf of Duluth Firefighters Local 101. “Our firefighters are around 18% lower than the state average. We are asking for an 8% increase of wages to make Duluth fire a stronger department like it once was. We rank dead last in wages across Minnesota.”

Another area of interest was whether or not to hire an inclusivity and diversity officer to the city’s staff. Many residents voiced concerns about this. One resident said “we have too many people who are voiceless. We need to do more to help these people have a voice.”

As of now, we are unsure if the motion to add an inclusivity and diversity officer was approved or not.