Front Lawn Parking Issue dominates Kenwood area concerns over students
By Connor Shea
Mayor Emily Larson and other public officials recently hosted City Hall in the City. This discussion, held at St. Scholastica, centered around residents’ worries over students in the Kenwood neighborhood.
“We are truly here to hear you,” Larson said. “What made sense to me right away was the need to be out in the community where you are comfortable, hearing your questions.”
City Hall in the City occurs the third Wednesday in each month at a different location with a different topic.
The discussion was organized in order to make residents’ concerns easier to voice. Attending members of the City Council included the East and West Area Police Commanders Chad Nagorski and Brad Wick, City Planning Manager Adam Fulton, City Council President Joel Sipress as well as the mayor.
“It’s a very complicated balance,” Larson said. “We have to organize neighborhoods in a way that is hospitable for college students and yet make it work for families that have lived in these houses for 10, 20, 30 years.”
Her concern was echoed by East Area Police Commander, Lieutenant Chad Negorski.
“Front yard parking is the biggest issue,” Nagorski said. “Some of the other issues include college parties and noise disturbance calls.”
He was quick to give students some advice.
“The best situation is when college students get to know their neighbors. Once you develop those relationships we hardly ever get calls because the family or residents will come over and voice their concern in person.”
The City Council listened and spoke with residents of the Kenwood neighborhood. This zone of Duluth encompasses both UMD and St. Scholastica. Approximately 25-30 residents attended the discussion.
Tower Hall was a great venue both in proximity and elegance - the only thing missing was a student voice. I was the only college student in attendance, as a reporter covering the meeting.
Mike Purtell, Vice President of Student Affairs at UMD's Student Association, talked about potential reasons for the lack of student representation. He voiced concerns on how often the City Council keeps the Student Association in the loop.
“Officials give us a disproportionate amount of opportunities for change, considering a fifth of the population in the city is college aged,” Purtell said.
Purtell authored a successful petition against increased enforcement this October. It states that no extra enforcement can occur until June 1, when students will be starting new leases. He called the success of the petition “A major win for students” in an issue that has been popping up for decades.
The city has been working with the Student Association recently on this issue, with the City Council set to begin discussions amid interest in creating appropriate legislation.
If you have concerns, you can report issues at www.duluthmn.gov.