City council lays groundwork for Downtown Duluth Public Library redesign

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 9:50 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. -- Last week, Mayor Emily Larson announced a goal of converting Duluth’s Downtown Library into a multi-purpose community service center.

This goal would include a redesign and renovation with construction starting within the next couple of years.

At Monday night’s meeting, the Duluth City Council began working on what that will look like, and how it would be funded.

“We have been working for the last 10 years or so to try and devise not only the right vision for the community but a vision that we can fund,” said Jim Filby Williams, the Director of Property Parks and Libraries.

Library officials, along with members of the Duluth Library Foundation, brought forth three different resolutions for the council.

“So, one is hiring an architecture firm to write up the pre-work plan,” said Roz Randorf, the City Council Vice President. “Two, a resolution to approve the funding for a consulting firm that would do the community outreach. Three, approving the ability to accept funding from the Duluth Library Foundation.”

That would all lay the foundation for renovations to begin, which include making space for the workforce development center and other community services.

“We are looking for three pockets of funding on this,” said Vice President Randorf. “Bonding money, Coronavirus funding, and then a federal piece as well, so all that prework is vital to start that process so we can secure the funding.”

In the meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve:

  • $45,000 for third-party community engagement services
  • $214,000 for a third-party architecture firm for pre-designs
  • $150,000 from the Duluth Library Foundation.

“We are going to be bringing forward an exciting partnership with the Duluth Library Foundation to engage the community in planning for the comprehensive renovation of what has been our Downtown Library,” said Williams.

The 40-year-old building is set to undergo big changes soon.

The pre-design plan and community engagement results will eventually be taken to state lawmakers with the goal of receiving state funding from the 2024 bonding session.