S.T.E.A.M. 2022

Wow! The students of the Duluth Cluster schools showed off some amazing projects this past Tuesday at the S.T.E.A.M. event on Town Green. School present included B.B. Harris Elementary School, Berkeley Lake Elementary School, Duluth Middle School, Chattahoochee Elementary School, Charles Brant Chesney Elementary School and Coleman Middle School.
Photos courtesy of Kasey Burchett Photography

2022 Calendar of Events

The City of Duluth is excited to announce the 2022 event schedule. As always, this year’s lineup has a little bit of something for everyone including food trucks, concerts, movies and more!

The event season officially kicked off in January with the Duluth Farmers & Artisan Market. In addition to shopping with local vendors on the 2nd Sunday of the month, each market features live music, themed photos ops and free children’s activities. Community favorite Flicks on the Bricks returns with a free movie under the stars on the first Friday of June, August and September.

Flicks on the Bricks Schedule:

June 3 – Spider-Man: No Way Home (PG-13)

August 5 – Aladdin 2019 (PG)

September 2 – Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (PG)


Fridays-N-Duluth (FND) kicks off April 29 from 6-9pm in Downtown Duluth and runs through September 16. FND includes both Food Truck Friday and Block Party on Main events. Food Truck Fridays will take place on all odd number Fridays and will feature live music, food trucks and vendors. The themed Block Party on Main events will take place on all even numbered Fridays and will feature food trucks and themed entertainment. Block Party themes will include a Friday Fiesta, Dog Days of Summer, International Night, Bringing Back the 90’s, Caribbean Night, Mardi Gras in July, Lantern Parade and Whimsical Wonderland.

Signature events such as Back-to-School Bubblepalooza, Howl on the Green, Deck the Hall and Cookies & Cocoa with Santa will all be back for 2022. Other community favorites returning this year include Duluth Derby Day, Duluth on Tap, Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Duluth Spring Arts Festival.

Duluth’s Art Month will take place in August. Art-centered activities will include Seek Duluth, a community art project, the DFAL Art Walk and more! The FND Block Party on Main Lantern Walk will be the ultimate finale to Art Month on August 26.

The Evolution of Pop will headline the Summer Stage Concert on July 23. Cinema at the Red Clay will continue with a free movie showing the first Thursday of each month, October-December.

We will be bringing the glitz and glam of Las Vegas to Downtown Duluth on June 25 at Viva Las Duluth. The main stage will play host to all your favorite Vegas strip performances including magicians, cirque-style dancers and impersonators.

Pop-up events quickly became a favorite in 2020. Our community can expect this fun trend to continue in 2022 so be sure to follow our social media and be the first to know when a new pop-up is announced.

Facebook: @CityofDuluth

Instagram: @City_of_Duluth

Twitter: @CityofDuluthGA


For more information, on all upcoming events visit www.duluthga.net/events

Duluth Celebrates America & Firework Show Canceled

We are excited to introduce a new Independence Day celebration to the event lineup!


As Duluth continues to grow and change, so do our event offerings. With that in mind, Duluth Celebrates America has come to a bittersweet end. In its place we will be hosting a Kickoff to the 4th on Friday, July 1. This event will include a performance by A-Town A-List, a patriotic stage show (similar to that of Howl on the Green), inflatables and more! Themed photo ops, patriotic decor and our beloved veteran flags will remain on display through the holiday.


Now, we know you’re going to ask “what about the fireworks?” Your safety is always our number one priority and unfortunately, there is no location within Duluth City Limits that would enable us to put on a show that is both safe and up to the standards our community has learned to expect.


Alternative non-viable locations included:


Scott Hudgens Park/River Green – Many remember the years that Duluth Celebrates America was hosted at River Green/Scott Hudgens Park. A large portion of the property that was used for the event was privately owned and has since been sold and developed into a 158,000+ square foot facility. The remaining field space does not allow adequate space for a firework fall out zone, event entertainment and event parking.


Duluth High School – A few weeks back, City Staff hosted a test launch at the High School. A group of 30+ including city staff, Council Members, members of the Downtown Development Authority and Duluth residents were stationed around Downtown Duluth during the test launch. It was determined that visibility would be minimal and restricted to only a very small portion of the entire event space. It should also be noted that due to residential property near the high school, the show would have been restricted to lower-level fireworks only and the maximum show length would have been shorted from 20 minutes down to 14 minutes with a significant budget increase.


Southeastern Railway Museum – While it is in close proximity to the Downtown event location, a launch at the museum would require extensive road and railway closures and could have included the relocation/removal of locomotives on display.


Keep a close eye on our social pages for more details on the exciting Kickoff to the 4th event and we look forward to seeing you there!


For more information on upcoming City of Duluth events, please visit duluthga.net/events.

Taylor Park Reopening

All aboard!🚂
Saturday, April 16 will be the highly anticipated reopening of Taylor Park! The new locomotive-themed equipment will be accepting passengers and conductors, ages 2-12 years old, daily from dawn to dusk.
Our Parks & Recreation team cannot wait to see your favorite Downtown park bustling with activity again!

Playground Design Contest

It’s time to stir up your creative juices, watch your imagination soar, let your adventurous hair down…you get the picture. The City of Duluth is hosting a design contest for visionaries and creators of all ages and skill levels.

Your goal is to inspire the next piece of playable art in Downtown Duluth. What is playable art you ask? Well, imagine sliding down the arm of a giant robot or climbing the spiral staircase of a mystical tree house. You could even pilot your own flying car…in theory. In other words, this playground isn’t going to be your typical slide, swings and monkey-bars combo. We want you to use your wildest imagination to help us create a lasting, out-of-this-world piece of Duluth’s landscape.

Do you want to see a dinosaur on the Green? Draw it! Maybe you want to captain a pirate ship? Paint it! Or maybe you don’t think we have enough dragons around here? Sketch it! Want to dive to the depths in a submarine? Design it! You’re only limited by your imagination (and a little by our rules). Have fun!

Submission Requirements/Rules

  • Eligibility: This contest is open to persons of all ages that reside within Gwinnett County at time of submission.
  • Agreement to Terms: By submitting an Entry to the Contest, the entrant (“You”) agrees to be fully unconditionally bound by these Terms. You also represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements and that the Contest and You entering the Contest is not prohibited in Your jurisdiction. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of the City of Duluth as final and binding as it relates to the Contest.
  • Contest Period: April 12, 2022 – May 13, 2022 at 11:59pm
  • How to Enter
    • Designs can be submitted online by visiting duluthga.net/playgrounddesigncontest.
    • Designs may be created using any medium you wish. Pen and paper, 3D model, digital design, you name it, we will accept it. Please no to-scale models though!
    • Multiple entries per person are permitted. Let those creative juices flow!
    • Design(s) may be used by a vendor chosen by the City through an RFP as inspiration only.
    • All submissions will become the property of the City of Duluth to use as they see fit.
    • Entries that contain sexual content, violence or gore, or promote discrimination against any individual or group or that otherwise contain content that in the view of the City of Duluth is inappropriate, will not be accepted.
    • The Entry must fulfil all Contest requirements, as specified in these Terms, to be eligible to win a prize.
    • Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the Terms may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the City of Duluth.
    • If you use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent these Terms, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of the City of Duluth.


  • If your submission is chosen as the winning inspiration for the newest piece of playable art in Downtown Duluth, you will be awarded with $1,000, a feature in Duluth Life after the project is complete and a display plaque at the completed project.
  • Second place will be awarded $750.
  • Third place will be awarded $500.
  • All specifics of the prizes shall be solely determined by the City of Duluth. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others is permitted. If for any reason there are logistical or other issues with providing a prize, the City may at its sole discretion provide a substitute prize of equivalent value.
  • Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of the winner.
  • Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for the City of Duluth to use the Winners’ names, likeness, and Entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation.

Winner Selection & Notification

  • Submissions will be judged on creativity, innovativeness, practicality, age appropriateness and potential for fun!
  • To the extent permitted by law, the City of Duluth shall have no liability for:
    • Any Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information
    • Any Winner’s inability to receive or participate in any component of the prize.
    • If a Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within forty-eight (48) hours from the time notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and release (if required), the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this Contest is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

7 Steps for Navigating Freight and Commuter Train Crossings

7 Steps for Navigating Freight and Commuter Train Crossings

If you assume a train will stop when the engineer sees a car on the tracks, you’re right — but trains need at least 18 football fields of track to reach a complete stop. Don’t risk it.
1. Stop, look both ways and listen. Remember that trains always have the right of way.
2. Make sure you have room to get across. Once you enter the crossing, keep moving.
3. Stop 15 feet away from flashing red lights, lowered gates, a signaling flagman or a stop sign.
4. Never try to drive around a lowering gate. Never ignore signals and always use caution.
5. Before you begin to cross, wait for gates to fully rise and for all lights to stop flashing.
6. Never assume that there is only one train coming from a single direction.
7. If your car stalls on a rail track, quickly get everyone out – even if you don’t see a train coming. Then, run away from the tracks and your car. Avoid running in the same direction that the train is coming, because you could be hit by flying debris if a train hits your car. When it’s safe to do so, call the number on the blue Emergency Notification System sign. If the sign is not visible to you, call 911.
Learn more by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

AJC Article: Duluth lights up City Hall in support of Ukraine

Photo of Duluth City Hall with yellow and blue lights.
Duluth City Hall

By Jillian Price, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

The blue and yellow lights illuminating Duluth City Hall aren’t merely decorations.

The Gwinnett city is showing its support for Ukraine — the European nation invaded by Russia — by showing the war-torn country’s colors.

Duluth has a personal connection to the country; one of their city employees is from Ukraine.


Photo of Alex Matsota
Alex Matsota

Alex Matsota, a maintenance technician, is from Kyiv, the nation’s capital. Matsota moved to Duluth in 1998 and has worked for the city for nine years.

Ever since fighting began, Matsota said he’s been in a state of shock.

“I don’t know how to explain it, it’s unbelievable, it’s shock, it’s ‘how’s this possible?’” Matsota said.

Matsota, who has relatives who still live in Ukraine, is worried about their safety. Some family members, he said, lived just a few yards away from the shelling and where civilians were being killed in the street.

“Really hard to see streets where you walk, where you lived, covered, covered with broken buildings,” Matsota said through tears during a phone call on Thursday afternoon.

Matsota’s relatives were able to safely leave Kyiv and travel to western Ukraine, where it is safer. Matsota has continuously asked his family if they need anything, as they do not have many resources since leaving their homes. Though his family has not asked for anything for themselves, they have asked for money to help other families.

His family does not have plans to leave Ukraine right now.

Matsota is grateful that the city of Duluth and some of his neighbors are showing support for Ukraine and his family.

“I see the people. I see, you know, my coworkers over here. They worry, they worry not just about me. They worry about people over there, what’s happening,” Matsota said.

Duluth, which began lighting City Hall in Ukraine’s colors on March 2, is planning to keep the lights on the city hall for the next few weeks, said Jason Brock, deputy director for public works.

Duluth Police Department’s Chief Belcher Set to Retire in July

Photo of Chief Randy Belcher with the Duluth Police Department
Chief Randy Belcher, Duluth Police Department

After serving more than 46 years at the Duluth Police Department, with 38 years as Chief, Chief Randy Belcher has announced his plans to retire in July. The City is moving forward with plans for his Deputy Chief, Colonel Jacquelyn Carruth, to be his replacement, taking over the top leadership spot in the agency. Col. Carruth, a 25-year veteran of the department, will be the first female Chief in the department’s 100-year history and will be one of only about 3% of Police Chiefs in the state who is females.

Since being hired in 1996, Colonel Carruth has worked in almost every area of the police department. She moved her way through the ranks by working hard and building leadership skills. Col. Carruth holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration Degree from Columbus State University’s Law Enforcement Command College. She is also a graduate of the 252nd Session of the FBI National Academy. She has completed the Georgia Chief’s Executive Training and was a member of the 26th delegation of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program (GILEE). Col. Carruth currently holds the position of Secretary of the Board on the Gwinnett Chiefs Association, and she is a member of various other state and national law enforcement organizations. Her extensive experience in law enforcement, specifically with the City of Duluth, will
ensure a smooth transition in leadership for the agency.

Without a doubt, Chief Belcher was an integral part of making the police department an outstanding and professional agency today. Under his leadership, the department rose from a mere 16 employees in 1984 to a state-accredited agency with a staff of 91 today. Chief Belcher started as a patrol officer in 1976, then became a detective, and continued to rise through the ranks, becoming a Sergeant, then Lieutenant, until he finally became the youngest serving Police Chief in Georgia in 1984.

Chief Belcher was also the department’s first-ever to attend and graduate from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in 1991.

One of the things that Chief Belcher has always tried to do is stay ahead of crime by implementing the latest ideas in technology. Under his direction, the police department began a camera monitoring program which has been an invaluable tool in identifying suspects and solving crimes throughout the City. There are 162 cameras placed in different locations throughout Duluth, including all our City Parks and almost the entire downtown area.

Chief Belcher also recognizes the importance of forming partnerships and engaging with citizens in the community as part of an overall strategy to keep Duluth safe. Under his command, several programs were implemented, including Citizens on Patrol, VIP Camera Monitoring Program, Coffee and Conversation with a Cop, Citizens Police Academy, Hispanic Citizens Police Academy, and Youth Police Academy. In recognition of his efforts, Chief Belcher was honored with the Gwinnett Chamber Leadership Award for excellence in community-oriented engagement in 2017.

While his officers and the community will sorely miss Chief Belcher, the legacy he leaves will be one of maintaining the integrity and high standards within the police department and a 100% commitment to serving the citizens of Duluth. While the average tenure of a Police Chief is a mere three years, Chief Belcher humbly attributes his longevity and success to the men and women he leads at the police department, support from City Officials, and support from the community.

Col. Carruth plans to continue building on the solid foundation that Chief Belcher has already set in place. Her focus will be on maintaining high standards of policing, continuing and expanding the department’s crime-fighting capabilities through the use of technology, and continuing to find ways to build positive relationships with all members of our community.

Kelvin “Kelly” Kelkenberg Day

At last night’s council meeting, Mayor Harris, Council Member Thomas and Council Member Whitlock presented Kimberly Kelkenberg, wife of the late Kelvin Kelkenberg, with a proclamation proclaiming February 14, 2022 as Kelvin “Kelly” Kelkenberg Day in the CIty of Duluth.

Photo of Mayor Harris, Kimberly Kelkenberg, Council Member Thomas and Council Member Whitlock.
Pictured from left to right: Mayor Harris, Kimberly Kelkenberg, Council Member Thomas, Council Member Whitlock.

Council Member Kelkenberg was in his 3rd term, having served ten years on City Council when he passed away following a three-year battle with cancer in August of 2021. He was a passionate supporter of all things Duluth and was part of a team that saw the development of Parsons Alley and city-wide growth. He was a mentor and friend to many. His legacy will continue to impact our city for generations to come.

Photo of Kelvin "Kelly" Kelkenberg
Kelvin “Kelly” Kelkenberg

The proclamation reads:

Whereas, Kelvin “Kelly” Kelkenberg served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 2005-2009 as well as the Planning Commission from 2009-2010.  He also participated in and graduated from the Duluth L.E.A.D. program in 2008; and

Whereas, Kelly was elected to and wholeheartedly served on the Duluth City Council from 2011-2021; and

Whereas, Kelly was elected to the Executive Board of the Gwinnett Municipal Association (GwMA) in 2018, serving as Vice President in 2019 and President in 2020, and from whom he received the Leadership and Service Award for exceptional service; and

Whereas, Kelly was appointed to the Gwinnett County Transit Review and Recommendation Committee where, in 2018 and 2019, he helped lead the development of a plan to bring to the citizens for a vote; and

Whereas, Kelly was appointed to the Urban Redevelopment Agency in 2021 to help guide the use of TAD related Bond funds for further enhancement of Duluth’s remarkable downtown; and

Whereas, on numerous occasions, Kelly was called upon for his unique expertise for matters such as helping the City to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-attacks, assisting with the preparation for Tropical Storm Irma and dealing with the complex issues associated with the Covid-19 pandemic; and

Whereas, Kelly regularly participated in the Georgia Municipal Association meetings and activities, including being a member of the Federal Policy Committee and earning a Certificate of Dedication for his training hours; and

Whereas, Kelly was heavily involved in numerous local organizations, giving his time and talent generously; and

Whereas, council members that served with Kelly appreciated his unrelenting commitment to the community; and

Whereas, Kelly was a loving, devoted husband, father, son, grandfather, brother, and friend.

Now, therefore, I, Nancy Harris, Mayor of Duluth, on behalf of the council, citizens and staff of Duluth do hereby recognize February 14, 2022, as Kelvin “Kelly” Kelkenberg Day in the City