David's Blog

Friday, January 08, 2010

Embracing Duluth’s Progress Zones

The change is subtle. Yet, it can have a profound impact on how we view developments within our beloved community. The change to which I am referring is viewing the multiple “construction zones” we encounter each day as “progress zones.”

What a difference one word can make. For example, we can respond to a rerouting of traffic caused by one of these progress zones with fascination instead of frustration. Challenges can take the place of problems. Homework becomes home-learning. The Chamber’s leadership views our community’s challenges with positive expectancy. When our Board of Directors gather for our annual off-site planning session, we call the session an “Advance” instead of a “Retreat.”

We have been faced with a challenging economy in recent years. Nonetheless, there is optimism within the Chamber and, increasingly, within our Shining City on the Hill. The revitalization of our historic downtown continues. We can all see the progress being made as the dream of a new DECC Arena is becoming a reality. Our public schools are being revitalized. Our city and county streets are being rebuilt. Student enrollment is at record levels within our institutions of higher learning. New restaurants and hotels are opening within our Zenith City. There are many examples of progress and reasons for optimism – if we choose to acknowledge them. These progress zones are setting the pace for a new and exhilarating spirit in Duluth.

Throughout this past year, the Chamber has marshaled its resources to promote developments that signal excitement in our city. Private and public development will reach a record high of approximately $750 million infused into our community over a period of a few years. This development is generating jobs and opportunities for our community members. Duluth’s unemployment rate is lower than the state and national unemployment rates. This is a positive reversal of our past experience.

True enough, there are calculated risks inherent in the multiple progress zones that the Chamber and others have labored so long to make possible. All real progress involves risk and challenges. However, Duluth has the vibrancy to accept the risks and stride forward boldly. Let us together resolve to embrace the opportunities that now lie before us and begin 2010 as a city experiencing remarkable progress.

In support,

posted by David Ross at


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