Economic Development

Downtown Duluth The economic development component of the Plan update will provide an in-depth review of the local and regional economy, identify strategies, programs, and projects to improve the economy, and establish policy direction for economic growth. As part of the comprehensive plan update, this component will identify locations for future development and how to support emerging and technology-based economic development. With the input of focus group participants, we developed research questions. Based on our research and input from focus group meetings, we now have draft Economic Development policies. The policies below were presented to the focus group in June 2017, and based on the input we received, we will continue to revise these policies:

Draft policies as of 6/27/17:

  1. Support existing employers.  Most growth in employment comes from existing employers.  A strong Business Retention and Expansion program that will help our community to build upon existing success should be a priority.  Consider options for business incentives, financial and non-financial, for small local employers that may not be able to take advantage of traditional tax incentives.

  2. Outdoors as an economic asset.  Outdoor recreation is both a source of wealth by drawing tourists to our community, and an asset for attracting and keeping a talented workforce.  Preserve and protect existing open space, and continue to maintain recreational options, including regional, neighborhood, and pocket parks, as well as trails, sidewalks, and other outdoor recreation amenities.

  3. Transportation and connections.  The transportation network supports existing employers and is an asset for attracting new businesses.   Maintain the existing transportation network; promote industrial or maritime development in areas adjacent to the port and encourage transportation or logistic businesses near the port, railroad, airport, or highway interchanges so these businesses can take advantage of the nexus of different transportation options; promote efficient and affordable transportation options (sidewalks and mass transit) for employees and customers to more easily access employment and commercial areas.

  4. Build on Existing Strengths. Encourage diversification of businesses and employers for a healthy economy, but focus public partnership and inventive efforts in strengthening our existing industry successful clusters, primarily: health care, aviation, education, and transportation/logistics.

  5. Use What We Already Have.  Developing new businesses near existing infrastructure is the most effective way to leverage existing public investments in road, sewer, and water.   Encourage development in existing built up areas (including the downtown and neighborhood centers) and in the reuse of brownfields.  Encourage the use of transfer of development rights or other regulatory tools to discourage the development of greenfields that are not near public service, including public infrastructure and transportation options.

  6. Promote Housing Options.  Having affordable or desirable housing options is important to attracting and keeping a talented workforce.  Assist efforts to help the housing market provide a variety of housing options for all types of families, including housing options near existing outdoor recreational opportunities.


Meeting Agendas and Summaries

Next Meeting: TBA

June 27, 2017

March 7, 2017

October 3, 2016