The West Side Feels Like Home to Me

We all know housing can be an issue for young professionals, and if you’re like me, you’ve likely heard the stereotypes of the east and west sides shortly after moving to Duluth, and especially, if you grew-up here. They seem to be entrenched stereotypes that can keep many young first-time home buyers from looking at some very affordable, and not to mention, great outdoorsy and family-friendly options in neighborhoods that may not seem as “fashionable” when telling your friends about your new place. The history and stereotypes of a lot of these neighborhoods is simply that, history and stereotypes. 
Before Mayor Ness started his push to further improve and promote the West side, my husband and I had already discovered for ourselves what a hidden gem some of the West side neighborhoods are. Last summer, we made the move to Morgan Park, the historic US Steel company town that has seen its share of ups and downs with the company. We enjoy outdoor activities and a little more room to breathe. That’s the big reason we live in Duluth in the first place. 
While I’ve recently noticed more young people moving into the “Park”, I’m amazed that even more young people aren’t there. Crime statistics there are lower than many other popular neighborhoods, ancient city utilities have already been modernized, there’s more room and yard space between houses than in many downtown neighborhoods. There’s lots of green space and activities nearby, (Spirit Mountain, the St. Louis River and Clyde boat access). The Munger Trail is only a few blocks away that will eventually connect to the Cross City Trail and Lakewalk and the pothole laden Grand Avenue will be redone soon. Best yet, young professionals can get a lot more bang for their buck, many of which still may have lots of student loans to pay off. 
Many of these things can be applied to several neighborhoods along Grand Avenue including Fond Du Lac, Gary, Smithville and Riverside. I know great places where friends live in Denfeld, Spirit Valley, and Lincoln Park. In fact most of my young, professional friends have now moved to the West side as of the last two years.
I’m here to tell you to check out ALL of Duluth’s neighborhoods. There are great hidden pockets in EVERY neighborhood I’ve driven through when we were looking at homes. I have discovered a lot of places I never realized existed that I could see myself living at happily. Do your research and go there to check these places out. 
Jena Vogtman
Fuse Duluth Leadership Council
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College