Duluth mayor seeks population surge to fuel prosperity

Duluth’s population is holding steady at just over 86,000, but Mayor Don Ness wants to nudge that to 90,000, saying that new jobs and affordable housing will attract residents and add to the city’s prosperity.

The city’s population peaked at 106,000 in the 1960s, said the Duluth News Tribune, but the closings of a steel mill and Air Force base led to declines.

Ness told the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce that the city needs to persuade young and old to move in. He said the city’s arts scene and recreational opportunities seem to be a draw, the paper said.

“More young people are coming for school, and they’re staying,” Ness said. He’s encouraged that the city’s median age fell from 35.4 in 2000 to 33.6 in 2010.

 “If we reach 90,000 by 2020, future leaders will look back and say: That’s the moment Duluth changed, and that change allowed for its growth,” Ness said.

Ness and his wife, Laura, are doing their part; their third child was born last year, the paper said.

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