DULUTH - Fresh off an award for creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown, Duluth officials and merchants want to keep the people coming this holiday season.
Earlier this month, the city received a Livable Center Initiative Achievement Award for work toward creating the city's Town Green and mixed-use developments by implementing the Downtown Redevelopment Plan.
"It has really changed the face of downtown Duluth," Mayor Shirley Lasseter said of the Town Green. "It was an old, cracked-up parking lot that nobody liked parking on because it was so uneven."
Two developers working with the city, Doug Spohn and Dan Woodley, have completed or nearly completed their developments and two others, Dave Heydinger and Mike Maschmeyer are about to get started. Work on this new phase of development will begin before the end of the year.
During the holiday season, city officials have planned events to draw people to the new downtown.
"It's about bringing families together," Lasseter said about events on the Town Green. "We are constantly on the move, trying to bring in new ideas and new events for children and families as well as maintain the businesses and restaurants we have."
On the weekend after Thanksgiving, shopkeepers are inviting people to escape the malls and enjoy the downtown charm with discounts all weekend.
Beginning Nov. 29, the merchants will extend shopping hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays for a "Jingle Mingle" celebration.
The city will have a Hometown Holiday Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 1 with arts and crafts, kids, activities, train rides and an Enchanted Forest. Santa will also arrive that evening and the city tree will be lit.
The Enchanted Forest and train rides will also be held Dec. 2, 8 and 9.
From Dec. 6 to 23, the Red Clay Theatre will present "It's a Wonderful Life," and on Dec. 23, the city will host a Radio Disney live concert featuring Keke Palmer and Drew Seeley.
For more information about the events, e-mail Elizabeth Rudin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-475-3512.