Douglas County weighs Government Center parking

Additional spaces will be time-limited for public use at the expense of employee parking.

Government Center Employee Parking on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
The 10 spaces north of motorcycle parking will be posted with two-hour limits to provide additional parking for the public doing business at the Government Center and Douglas County Courthouse. Currently, those spaces are used by city and county employees.
Shelley Nelson / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — Douglas County is planning to expand parking available to the public during the day by placing time limits on some parking spaces currently used by employees.

Ten spaces in the parking lot adjacent to Cumming Avenue will be posted with two-hour time limits to provide greater access to parking for people who have business at the Government Center and Douglas County Courthouse, following a Thursday, May 4, meeting of the county's Administration Committee.

The spaces are typically occupied by vehicles belonging to Douglas County and Superior city employees who work in the buildings.

The committee also directed staff to work with the city about possibly limiting the amount of time people can park in two spaces on Cumming Avenue near the Douglas County Courthouse.

County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said when he went in to talk to County Clerk Kaci Lundgren about putting the issue on the agenda, she had people come into her office and complain they couldn’t find a place to park within walking distance of the building.


On a typical day, the streets around the Government Center and courthouse are filled with cars, and the Government Center parking lot is full. The county only provides 11 30-minute spaces and 14 two-hour parking spaces.

Liebaert suggested adding 10 additional time-limited spaces in the lot typically used by city and county employees to create additional space where the public can park while they seek zoning permits or pay their taxes.

“There is not room to pull in, do business,” Liebaert said.

Lundgren said there are only two spots on Cumming Avenue east of the courthouse that are not marked for handicap parking, but both spaces are typically occupied by employee vehicles.

“Those should have a time limit on there because those should be reserved for the public,” Lundgren said.

“We have to acquire more property around this facility so staff can walk a block or two or something like that,” said Supervisor Nick Baker.

“We definitely need to have more public parking, but until we address employee parking, I think it would be a mistake to add 10 more spots,” said Amber Popplewell, a judicial assistant for the county. She said employees are already parking on public streets, and the parking situation gets worse when there are jury trials.

Baker made a motion to direct facilities staff to post a two-hour time limit on 10 parking spaces north of the motorcycle parking spots adjacent to Cummings Avenue, and work with the city to put time limits on two non-handicapped parking spaces on Cumming Avenue near the courthouse.


The measure doesn’t require county board approval, Liebaert said.

Dave Sletten, director of emergency management, communications and general services, said he expects to have the parking lot posted within a month when posts and signs are available, and underground infrastructure is marked.

Parking on Cumming Avenue will be determined by the city’s Public Safety Committee.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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