Parks & Recreation

Master Plan

Duluth Parks and Recreation Master Plan Unveiled 

For the past 16 months, City staff, Parks Commissioners, and park planning consultants have been working on a master plan to guide the future of Duluth’s parks, recreation, and trails system. Key elements of the Master Plan are to:

  • improve the quality of existing parks (especially neighborhood parks),

  • focus on connecting the community through trails and bikeways,

  • have fewer, but higher quality recreation buildings,

  • enhance stewardship of natural resources,

  • expand partnerships with schools for community recreation and gathering,

  • increase use and recognition of volunteers and volunteer groups, and

  • create stable and sustainable funding sources to improve the park system.

The Plan is based on extensive public input gathered in surveys, meetings, and focus group sessions. Kathy Bergen, Duluth’s Manager of Parks and Recreation said “Feedback from the community was overwhelmingly in favor of a high quality parks, recreation, and trails system. We heard from many people who moved to Duluth to be close to nature and close to recreation. Our parks, recreation activities, trails, and natural resources are a huge part of the local economy and attract visitors from across the world. We needed a plan to protect and enhance that resource.”

The Plan does not recommend the addition of many new parks. Park planning consultant Greg Ingraham of HKGi praised Duluth’s park system. “Duluth has a great system of park land, but due to budget constraints some parks and recreation buildings are in sad shape and are not meeting resident’s expectations. Improving existing parks and connecting the community with trails and bikeways should be the focus. That will take additional funding and a commitment of the community, but parks and recreation are a vital element of Duluth’s future and deserve the investment.” 

The next step in this process is to present the Master Plan to the City Council for their support and adoption. We hope to accomplish this at the December 20th City Council meeting. Implementation of the Action Steps in the Plan will begin in January. The Master Plan is a “living plan” and as such will need to be reviewed and updated periodically to keep pace with our dynamic civic, economic, and natural environment. Action Steps will be prioritized and public involvement will be encouraged for each Action Step. We hope you will get involved in the Actions that interest you or impact your neighborhood. Future information about these opportunities will be provided on this webpage.

The Master Plan is available as a PDF file for you to download and read (see links above on right). For more information, please call 730-4309.

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