A dead end road in West Duluth, or more importantly, what's slated to happen to it, has become a major source of anxiety for neighbors who live nearby.
Russell Haupert has lived in Duluth all his life. He says the city's plan to extend Waseca Industrial Road to Grand Avenue, and streamline semi traffic along the route--just a few blocks away from his home--doesn't sit well with him.
"I'm all about the growth, industrial and residential... [But] I'm going to hear big trucks down-shifting and up-shifting, and air-braking, and all that. I don't want to hear that," said Haupert.
Right now, city officials say semis often take Waseca Industrial Road to 59th Avenue West towards Raleigh street, in the Irving Neighborhood.
The city says the new street will take them out of the residential area, which includes a school.
The proposed route would be built on an unused rail spur near 63rd Avenue West, and connect the industrial park directly to Highway 23.
Haupert said, "There's the noise issue, those trucks could be going in and out of there at any time of the day or night. Also, the pollution issue, I wouldn't want my house right along the side of that road, and then you've got semi-trucks spewing that black stuff out of the big stacks on their semis."
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said the project is vital to sustaining our region. "Expanding road access in this area is critical to our continued industrial and manufacturing growth, but it also helps to maintain and protect the important residential feel of the Irving neighborhood. This grant is a perfect example of what good working relationships can help achieve - between our team and the one at the State, we have a terrific project that is a win-win for our community," said. Larson.
Haupert says much of his neighborhood disagrees, "They ought to listen to what their constituents down here have to say, and make that access more of where it already is, which is Central Avenue."
The project will be funded in part by a 1.1 million dollar grant.
"We are appreciative of the State's assistance in helping us move forward projects that are important to the revitalization of our western business districts and St. Louis River corridor. As we look at the future, it's these types of infrastructure improvements that create the catalyst we need for businesses to thrive and grow thereby increasing our job base. We are proud of the role our Economic Development staff are playing in sustaining the economic health of our neighborhoods," said Heather Rand, Director of Business and Workforce Development.
The city is using 2018 to finalize their plans, and buy a couple parcels of property before breaking ground in 2019.
City officials say the investment into the Industrial Park area will allow the seven major business located there to retain more than 450 jobs.
Officials also say it will create more than 100 new jobs with an average salary of of $56,000 dollars.
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