DULUTH – The city is asking for $13.5 million in state funding to fortify its Lake Superior shoreline following three consecutive years of severe storms that battered beaches and the popular Lakewalk trail.
On Monday, the City Council will be asked to approve Duluth’s legislative priorities for the year, and city staff has put coastal infrastructure rehabilitation at the top of their list. Local officials are hoping to get $8.1 million to replace aging sea walls and $5.4 million for improvements to the Lakewalk.
In all, the city is billing its work on the shoreline at $61 million — a cost that was partly covered by federal and state disaster aid Duluth received after it was walloped by storms in 2017 and 2018.
More expenses remain, however, and the city is hoping part of Gov. Tim Walz’s bonding bill — which he said Thursday would total roughly $2 billion — will help cover them.
“One can say that Duluth can track its economic renaissance back to the moment when we decided to turn and face the lake,” Jim Filby Williams, Duluth’s director of public administration, told the City Council on Thursday.
“We have fantastic popular assets that are quite bold and have been taking quite a pounding, particularly in the last three years from the increasingly intense and frequent storms we’ve been seeing,” he added.
The project could also include work to strengthen and repair Canal Park, Brighton Beach, the Minnesota Slip and the DECC/Harbor Drive shoreline areas.