Support Retrofitting Over New Development

Developing programs to expand resources for homeowners looking to retrofit existing buildings and maintain their existing homes is something that the City of Duluth should encourage and prioritize. While the City has often prioritized brand new development of homes and commercial buildings, we know that the benefits of working with our existing buildings and properties can create thriving communities, reduce the need for new public investments, and have a positive impact on our environment.

Investing in maintaining and revitalizing our existing buildings is key to revitalizing entire neighborhoods, as it creates communities in which individuals are proud to live and work. These investments have a ripple effect that spur other growth and create bonds through our local communities. However, we know that many homeowners and renters do not have the ability or the means to make these improvements alone and should be supported by City programs and resources. 

Where the City of Duluth invests in existing communities, it saves in providing new public services for expensive new developments. Strengthening the existing public transportation infrastructure to a neighborhood will always be more beneficial than adding entirely new transit routes. While sometimes more challenging and certainly not inexpensive, policies and programs that redirect our tax dollars to existing buildings and infrastructure would demonstrate the City’s priority and commitment to entire communities.

Finally, we know that the investment in existing neighborhoods contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by locating housing and community amenities at the heart of our city. Rather than sprawling outwards, damaging the surrounding environment, and increasing the transportation needs and miles traveled from new developments, a priority of working within our existing footprint is beneficial and necessary for people and the climate. 

Frugality and conservation is a value that every Duluthian knows for their own household. The City of Duluth should promote and prioritize such a value through programs that encourage and incentivize residents to maintain their properties, renovate existing structures, and invest in existing neighborhoods. Rebuild Duluth, which encourages infill housing development, is one such program that the City of Duluth should expand to build thriving and healthy communities.

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