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Duluth mayor: City 'deserves better' as snow removal work continues days after storm

Updated: December 04, 2019 06:43 PM

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson issued a public letter to city residents as crews continue to work on clearing snow days after a significant storm.

In the letter, Larson says she takes "full responsibility" for the city's response to the storm and personally apologizes for the "pockets of our city still untouched" as well as resulting school closures.

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City officials had set a goal to finish plowing all streets at least one time by 6 p.m. Tuesday. That deadline was days after a weekend storm dumped nearly two feet of snow on the area.

Meanwhile, Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge was not operational due to the weight of snow and ice from the storm.

Duluth Lift Bridge not operating, no vessel access

"We can do better. Duluth deserves better," Larson wrote, stating she is working with city officials to identify weaknesses in storm planning.

The letter from Larson reads, in full: 

Dear Duluth,

As a City, we have let you down in our response to this storm. As Mayor, I take full responsibility.

We can do better. Duluth deserves better. We are working thru what has gone wrong. To have pockets of our city still untouched this morning is embarrassing and not in keeping with the basic expectations every resident deserves to have for how government needs to show up for you.

As a parent, it’s critical our kids are in school. As a neighbor, it’s important we take care of one another. As a leader, it’s essential to be reliable and provide the basics of government.

We have not done our part to fulfill expectations in these areas. I apologize to all of you for this.

I have spoken with our staff and with the school district. The closing today of Lowell and Myers Wilkins because of continued snow clearing issues goes against everything that I strive for as a leader - public education access in our schools and neighborhoods of low incomes. This neighborhood and these schools need us to show up in the biggest way. Not as an afterthought.

I’ll be having a press conference to say all of this publicly later this morning. But later doesn’t help some of you as you’re starting out with your day.

Thanks for believing in what is possible when we do everything right. And for knowing and being honest with me when we get it wrong.

- Emily

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