A series of public meetings and advance planning is in the works as the City of Duluth begins the process of proposing historic district design guidelines for downtown Duluth. The planning and eventual design standard will dictate in large degree the way that downtown will look and move forward in the future.

Fifteen years ago - in 2006 - a portion of downtown Duluth's central business district was nominated and then listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Duluth Commercial Historic District.  According to details released by the City of Duluth, the purpose of historic districts is to "preserve the character of a neighborhood by retaining historic buildings and features while ensuring that new construction and additions are compatible with their historic surroundings".

While downtown Duluth does feature some older architecture, the location is largely comprised of older buildings. The guidelines that end up as a result of the public meeting process will provide a vision for property owners in that historic district.  The city's website defines what's on the agenda:

 "[The] design guidelines...[will] determin[..] appropriate treatment for existing historic buildings and landscape elements within the historic district, as well as to help provide direction when new structures are proposed to be constructed within the downtown historic district. The proposed downtown historic standards will give guidance on maintaining, repairing, and, when necessary, replacing historic features. Maintaining a neighborhood’s historic character has social, economic, and environmental benefits beyond achieving and preserving a particular aesthetic appearance. Well-preserved neighborhoods with historic character can also attract visitors and investment. These proposed standards would only apply to properties within the 2006 historic district boundaries."

Two virtual public meetings will be held in the upcoming days to kick-start the process.  The first of those meetings will happen on Tuesday, July 27 at 5:00 PM; the second will occur the next day on Wednesday, July 28 ay 12 Noon.  Each session will include a short presentation followed by an opportunity for comments and questions.  Links for the meeting will be posted the day of the event under the link tab "Heritage Preservation Commission" on the City of Duluth's website - under the live meeting section; click here to go straight there.

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