Western Waterfront Trail, Parks and Recreation Master Plan

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Project Update:

Spirit Mountain Site Plan was approved by City Council February 26, 2018. The plan is currently undergoing a cultural resource review.

The Western Waterfront Park & Trail MMP includes recommendations for 5 public water access points along the St. Louis River Estuary, one of which is the new Lower Spirit Mt Riverfront Park. The multiple delays in the planning process over the last year have imposed challenges for other City Departments who has been awaiting the passage of this Mini-Master Plan in preparation for determining the terminus of the new public road construction of Kayak Bay Drive. The City’s state, county and private partners need to know, where does the road terminate?  The project is now fully funded and must move into fully design to be ready to bid by spring 2018.  In order to proceed, the City needs the assent of the Commission or Council on the Site Plan separate from the larger Western Waterfront Park & Trail Mini Master Plan. 

Below is a link to the Lower Spirit Mountain Riverfront Park Site Plan that was presented to Parks Commission on February 14, 2018.  The public comment period ran from January 17 to January 31. 

The 10 acre site is located on the lower side of Grand Avenue opposite of Warwick Street, the entrance Grand Avenue Chalet, part of the larger Spirit Mountain recreation area. The site sits below the BNSF Railroad  and is made up county forfeit land and private land. The site has approximately 1,500 ft. of shoreline to the St. Louis River. The site is opposite of Tallus Island.  As part of the larger Western Waterfront Park & Trail Mini Master Plan, the Lower Spirit Riverfront Park site was reviewed throughout the process.  Including:

  • 39 member stakeholder committee – which one of the meetings was dedicated to the two new proposed water’s edge sites
  • Two public meetings where the larger community groups gathered, first with 60 and then at the proceeding meeting with 100 attendees
  • Online Survey that had a total of 988 responses

Revised Lower Spirit Mountain Riverfront Park Site Plan (2/14/2018)

Project Status: Planning

A draft of the Western Waterfront Mini Master Plan was presented to the Parks & Recreation Commission on November 8, 2017.

Please review important documents and public meeting presentations below.

Important Documents:

Spirit Landing Site Plan (Council approved February 26, 2018)

Western Waterfront Park and Trail Master Plan Meeting #2 (presentation June 13, 2017)

Western Waterfront Trail Online Survey Summary

Western Waterfront Trail 5th District Phone Survey Summary

Western Waterfront Park and Trail Master Plan Meeting #1 (presentation November 15, 2016) 

The Master Plan's overall project goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing connectivity from adjacent neighborhoods to the St. Louis River and Estuary.
  • Increasing recreational and development opportunities within and along the St. Louis River Corridor.
  • Facilitating a stakeholder community engagement process to gain significant input on the future use of the area.
  • Enhancing neighborhood quality of life.
  • Restoring and protecting natural habitat along the trial corridor.
  • Determine whether to retain and potentially improve the remaining riverfront rail line and renew the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad's lease for excursion rail trips.

With these project goals in mind, the master planning process will explore options to:

  • Extend and improve the Western Waterfront Trail as cited in the 1979 WWFT Master Plan.
  • Rebrand the Western Waterfront Trail as a heritage trail that celebrates and interprets the rich culture and natural heritage of the corridor.
  • Develop potential new river access nodes opposite Tallus Island and at the area known as Slag Point.
  • Develop potential new canoe/kayak water trail entry points at Munger Landing, Boy Scout Landing, and Perch Lake.
  • Decide the future use of the City-owned riverfront.
  • Create synergy between the Water Trail, the Western Waterfront Trail, and the excursion rail (if the City determines to extend the excursion rail lease).

Public meetings related to the planning process will announced via City of Duluth press releases and community calendars. Please sign up for City of Duluth communication updates, subscribe by using: http://www.duluthmn.gov/web-subscriptions/sign-up/

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Lisa Luokkala
Senior Parks Planner
Parks and Recreation
411 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 730-4312


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