Mayor Jim Paine: People create Superior's success

In his State of the City address, the Superior mayor said focusing on people makes for a better city.

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Mayor Jim Paine delivers his State of the City address Thursday, May 12, 2022, at the Superior Entrepreneurship Center in the historic Old Post Office on Tower Avenue.
Shelley Nelson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Mayor Jim Paine drew on the successes of the past to set a vision for the city during his State of the City address Thursday, May 12, at the Superior Entrepreneurship Center in the historic Old Post Office.

At the center of that vision: People.

The former federal building now serves as a one-stop shop for business development and entrepreneurship at 1401 Tower Ave. It currently houses the Development Association, the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Small Business Development Center and the Entrepreneur Fund, with additional economic development entities expected to join in the future, said Jim Caesar, Development Association director. It is also a landing spot for Northwest Regional Planning and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation,” he said.


Paine said the Entrepreneurship Center is the best place possible to tell the story of 30 new businesses that got their start in the last year, unemployment at record lows, and wages at the highest level seen.

What’s making Superior successful is people’s ability to come together and actually help each other, Paine said.


“Our downtown has become the epicenter of the greatest economic revival in the history of this city,” Paine said. “I hope to have several announcements of new businesses over the coming summer, but let’s kick off the season of growth tonight. I’m thrilled to announce that this year we’re going to welcome the construction of the new Superior Craft School and Mission Flats Apartments on the empty DOT lot on the North End of Tower Avenue.”

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Jim Caesar, right, director of the Development Association, welcomes the crowd gathered at the Superior Entrepreneurship Center on Thursday, May 12, 2022. The facility hosted the mayor's State of the City address.
Shelley Nelson / Superior Telegram

Built by Jeff Dorfman, Paine said the community members will be able to take classes on carpentry, woodworking, sewing, photography, cooking, art and more, as well as find additional places to live. He said the city acquired the Wisconsin Department of Transportation land to preserve it for the right project.

“And now the right project is here,” Paine said


Paine said his goal is to build on the legacy of the genius that went into the design of Belknap Street and Tower Avenue. Last year, he announced that a community-centered design of downtown would be extended to North 21st Street; Thursday, he announced that design and rebuild of Tower Avenue south of Belknap would extend to North 28th Street to bring those neighborhoods and business districts back to life.

Paine said he was thrilled neighbors along Hammond Avenue shared his vision for creating a streetscape that would bring trees back to the center of the avenue, slow traffic, and make the area safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“The most important lesson that we’re learning from these projects is that when you put people at the center of your planning, you get a better city,” Paine said. “That’s how we’re going to bring neighborhoods and business districts back throughout the city, by putting people first — not cars or businesses.”


Access to the nature is another priority the mayor addressed. Paine said he was impressed to learn that the restored Barker’s Island beach was the most popular beach in the Twin Ports.

“I want to give people in this city new experiences in the outdoors and bring back old ones,” Paine said.


Growing up in Billings Park, Paine said contamination of the St. Louis River meant people couldn’t swim in the most popular water attraction in Superior. With local, state and federal efforts to clean up the contamination of the last five decades, Paine said he’s directed Linda Cadotte, parks, recreation and forestry director, to begin testing the water to determine if it’s safe enough to swim there again. And if it’s not, more action will be taken to clean it up further, he said.

“We’re going to bring swimming back to Billings Park,” Paine said.

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Mayor Jim Paine, center, prepares to deliver the key to the city to Pastor Will Mowchan, right, the 2022 Citizen of the Year.
Shelley Nelson / Superior Telegram

Citizen of the year

This year the mayor said he didn’t reach out to the 2022 Citizen of the Year to allow them to prepare remarks, and instead chose to make it a surprise.

“The riskiest part of that is I had to trust he could deliver a speech cold,” Paine said.

Paine announced retired Pilgrim Lutheran Church Pastor Will Mowchan was selected as this year’s Citizen of the Year because “service seems to be not sacrifice at all, but a joy that infects everyone.”

Mowchan was presented the key to the city: a cutting board made by Epicurean.

Mowchan said with so many people in Superior want to get involved, everyone who does that is the owner of the key.


“Superior is working so much better because we are standing on so many other people’s shoulders,” Mowchan said. “If we keep doing that, we’ll be living up to our name more and more.”

Children can track their progress online or pick up a paper form at the youth services desk.

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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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.