GICHI-ODE’ AKIING (LAKE PLACE)
When the plans for Interstate 35's extension up the shoreline were revealed, many people were startled. The plan called for the interstate to be built over the lake on a large concrete breakwater. Recognizing how this would disconnect the city from its greatest asset, a group of citizens rose up to oppose this plan and successfully came up with an alternative in which the interstate would run under downtown through a series of tunnels. The first of these tunnels was under what would become Lake Place.
The project, built upon the interstate, serves two purposes. Firstly to provide a route protected from Lake Superior's storms for traffic headed up the north shore, and secondly, to preserve a pedestrian connection between downtown Duluth, Canal Park, and Lake Superior. The park consists of scenic overlooks, walking paths, and extensive green space. It provides circulation opportunities between the busy pedestrian corridors of the Lakewalk and Superior Street, and a grand public space for various civic events.
In 2018, Lake Place was renamed Gichi-Ode' Akiing, which translates from Anishinaabe as "A Grand Heart Place." The name certainly fits the original intentions of the park and looks to revitalize with new event programming.
The Park is still technically incomplete. The original plans called for the deck of the park to extend all the way down to Superior Street through a gap in the buildings on the street. The funding for this section of the project was used for other downtown projects, and hence, the project still hasn't been completed. A series of elevated boardwalks serve as a replacement for the original connection.