Undercover Mayor: Parks & Recreation

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at City Hall? Well, wonder no more! The City of Duluth has just launched its newest series, Undercover Mayor, where Mayor Harris goes incognito to learn about the different departments and operations of the city.

In this second episode, Mayor Harris goes undercover with the Parks & Rec Department, pretending to be a Mayor from another city who wants to learn more about how Duluth operates. She’s accompanied by the Jason Rogers, Assistant Director of Recreation, Brandon Davis, Assistant Director of Athletics, and John Keating, Assistant Director of Parks.

The show gives you an inside look at the hard work that goes into keeping Duluth compliant with regulations and standards. Mayor Harris uncovers some surprising issues that the Code Compliance Department is working to address, and it’s eye-opening to see the effort that goes into keeping our city running smoothly.

So, grab your popcorn and tune in to the first episode of Undercover Mayor to see what Mayor Harris discovers in her covert mission. You won’t be disappointed!

Duluth Dog of the Month: Kolo

Can we hear a round of a-paws for August’s Dog of the Month: Kolo!

Kolo’s humans said he “is a 5-year-old Samoyed who loves to sing, spin, snack on popcorn and give the vacuum overtime hours. If he’s not playing with one of his (current) favorite toys, like Mr. Hotdog or Mr. Hedgehog, he’s probably taking a stroll down the street to visit his auntie. Kolo’s lived in Duluth for 2 of his 5 years and has loved getting to show off his smile around town!.” Sounds like if you see this good boy around you should stop and give him a pet!

For his dedication to helping keep our waterways clean and local ecosystems intact, @tiger_tails_animal_hospital has partnered with us to offer a great prize pack to our Dog of the Month.

Take the pledge and your pup (or pups) may just be featured as our next Dog of the Month!

DuluthGA.net/PetWastePledge

Human Resources Manager Earns DEI Certification

Human Resources Manager Jocelyn McGiboney, recently attended The Municipal Leader Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program through Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). This program is designed to equip municipal leaders with the knowledge, tools and resources to create a foundation for sustainable, equitable and economic prosperity for their city and its residents by creating an environment that values differences, fosters relationships and seeks a spirit of belongingness. This program is for individuals, targeting city leaders such as mayors, city managers, city council members, and senior staff. It supports day-to-day operations within city governments and aims to support municipal leaders by providing resources and connections with other city leaders for evaluating various areas of their governmental functions. 

 

Freddie Broome, Director of Equity & Inclusion for GA Cities, presents City of Duluth Human Resource Manager Jocelyn McGiboney with DEI Certificate.

 

Participants met monthly in person at GMA in Atlanta from 9 am – 4 pm over eight months. The program also included Emotional Intelligence testing, two virtual training classes, a book discussion of “How to Be an Inclusive Leader” by Jennifer Brown and a Capstone Project on an area of interest chosen in one of the modules. Jocelyn created her project in the area of Human Resources for an evaluation of various areas, including obtaining leadership support, developing diverse contacts with trusted colleagues, evaluating Duluth’s employee pay chart, HR Manual policy review, Performance Appraisal review and Recruiting/Retention of Diverse candidates. Jocelyn obtained feedback on the project from various employees prior to submission. The certificate program and project are resources for the continued development of the City of Duluth’s initiatives to recruit and retain diverse staff. She plans to use this knowledge to continue building Duluth’s workforce to show that our leadership team values our employees and plans to continue improving our recruitment and retention efforts and embracing our vibrant workforce to positively impact our community.

July’s Duluth Dog of the Month: Duke & Daphne

Can we hear a round of a-paws for July’s Dogs of the Month: Duke & Daphne!

Duke & Daphne’s humans said they “are both golden retrievers that are siblings of the same pawrents but different litters! They love to snuggle & give kisses, wrestle, and naturally (as retrievers) bring you any shoe left behind around the house!”

For their dedication to helping keep our waterways clean and local ecosystems intact, Tiger Tails Animal Hospital has partnered with us to offer a great prize pack to our Dog of the Month.

Take the pledge and your pup (or pups) may just be featured as our next Dog of the Month!
DuluthGA.net/PetWastePledge

Fridays-N-Duluth: Decades Night

We took a time-traveling trip through the decades last week at Fridays-N-Duluth! We swung through the roaring 20’s, got groovy in the 70’s, took it back to the rad 80’s, and got jiggy in the 90’s. Which decade was your favorite?!

See a familiar face? Tag them!

Photography provided by DV Photo Video.

Redevelopment of the United Tool Building

The old United Tool building is getting a much-needed facelift!
COhatch, a rapidly growing, community-focused company that develops innovative shared work and social spaces, has begun construction on its first location in the Atlanta area!
The COhatch team is restoring the 40 year-old building, which previously housed a tool rental, sales and service company and before that was the site for a gas station. The adaptive reuse of the site will be a nearly 11,000-square-foot work and social space. The development will include private offices, coworking areas, meeting rooms, and event space for members and the community alike, designed with inspiration from the area’s local history and culture. This space will also have an amazing 3,000-square-foot outdoor gathering place and a 1,500-square-foot annex building with event space.
“From coworking to private offices to meetings and events, we want our members and communities to work, meet, and live with us! Our goal is to provide every neighborhood with a place that allows them to engage with other members, organizations, and causes. We want our locations to be your office away from home with the creature comforts you need to stay productive.
Every location offers scholarships to our locations for local nonprofits and startups to provide organizations with a way to meet, collaborate, and drive their mission forward. We also work with our members and partners in each community to put on workshops, events, and speaker series to provide our members with opportunities to learn, network, and grow their businesses.
Whether you need a place to work, meet, or just hang out with your family and friends, COhatch Duluth is the place to be!” – COhatch
Construction on COhatch Duluth began in April 2023 and the company aims to open the location in early-2024.

Rogers Bridge Park Pedestrian Bridge Now Open

The City of Duluth, in partnership with the City of Johns Creek, Gwinnett County and Fulton County, hosted a ribbon cutting for the recently completed pedestrian bridge connecting Duluth’s Rogers Bridge Park to Johns Creek’s Cauley Creek Park. The City of Duluth also unveiled the park’s newest piece of public art called The Shape of Time and Water.

This is a project 15 years in the making! In 2006, Gwinnett County commissioned a study of Rogers Bridge to determine its structural integrity. The goal was to repurpose the bridge for pedestrians and in doing so, reconnect the communities on each side of the Chattahoochee River. In 2014, the City of Duluth took over the project and confirmed the study results. Duluth then applied for a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission in order to develop construction plans for the bridge. The grant provided $560,000 to the City and required a local match in the amount of $140,000. As the project is of regional significance, Duluth teamed up with the City of Johns Creek and both Fulton and Gwinnett Counties to come up with the $140,000 match. Evenly split, each local partner contributed $35,000 toward what is referred to as the “preconstruction” effort, which culminated in the development of construction plans.

At the time the plans were in their initial stages of development, it was not yet known if the bridge would be rehabilitated or replaced. Along the preconstruction journey, it was determined that the existing bridge was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to its unique construction method. The existing bridge was a 228’ long pin-connected Pennsylvania Petit truss. As such, the design team carefully documented the bridge’s history as well as its current condition. Ultimately, the Department of Natural Resources agreed the bridge could not be salvaged as is and approved its replacement. Concurrently, the preconstruction team reached out to citizens and stakeholders through various meetings and public open houses held in multiple locations (in multiple languages) to gain feedback as to what the ultimate users of the facility would want. Participants voted on their favored selection of bridge type and it was ultimately determined that a replica truss would best suit the needs of the end users. Both Councils and both Commissions concurred and the design team moved forward with developing construction plans for the replica truss.

The preconstruction process took about 4 years to complete and followed strict state and federal guidelines. Once again, the City reached out to the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation to assist with funding of the construction. And again, the four local partners came together, this time to participate with $350,000 each for a local match of $1,400,000. GDOT covered approximately $700,000. And ARC covered the remaining approximate $5,100,000.

Rogers Bridge Ribbon Cutting

“The partnership of two cities and two counties to honor our past by building back a replica of the original 1912 Rogers Bridge speaks volumes about the importance of regional collaboration.  This new bridge will be enjoyed by so many people for the next 100 years,” said City of Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris.

The City of Duluth would like to thank all our partners, without whom this project would not have been possible: FHWA, GDOT, ARC, Fulton & Gwinnett Counties, Johns Creek, the Thomas & Hutton/CHA design team, the KCI inspection team and the Astra construction team.

“It was an honor to lead this project.  It’s part of the legacy I and the entire list of stakeholders and participants are blessed to leave behind for generations to come,” added Margie Pozin, Project Manager & City of Duluth Community Development and Engineering Director.

After officially opening the bridge, Duluth officials were excited to introduce the newest piece of public art. Entitled The Shape of Time and Water, the 27’ structure features two massive concrete columns inspired by many stone and concrete bridge columns along the Chattahoochee River, topped with 110+-year-old steel from the original bridge. “The Rogers Bridge Art piece was selected because it incorporates the metal and pins from the original bridge, but it is supported by the concrete foundations used for bridges today.  It fully represents the old and new,” said Greg Whitlock, Duluth City Council Member and Duluth Mayoral Candidate.

The artist behind this piece is Phil Proctor from Nucleus Sculpture Studios. Proctor is a professional sculptor practicing in Atlanta since 2003 who has developed a professional reputation in the public art community by his involvement in the infrastructure of public art.

Artist Phil Proctor from Nucleus Sculpture Studios

“The idea came from the shape of time. Time is what shaped the bridge; it’s old, its rusted and time ultimately determined when it was time for the bridge to come down. So, the base of the sculpture is meant to represent the bridge columns, and the top of the sculpture is meant to represent the gesture of water as the water breaks on the bridge columns” said artist Phil Proctor during a recent visit to his studio. “A literal passageway, a symbol that represents the connection between two places; the driving force for the restoration of the new bridge and the partnership of the communities it connects.”

Phase II Improvements at Rogers Bridge Park will be underway soon. The new bridge will remain open (with possibly temporary brief closures during construction) but park and boat launch access will still be restricted during the construction process. Phase II will include two large parking lots with 118 new spaces, a walking trail, a new pavilion, the trailhead, and the repaving of Rogers Bridge Road as it leads into the park. This is expected to be completed by early 2024.

Photography provided by Dustin Grau Photography.