Cost to educate public on Nicollet Mall redesign could go up

The public relations cost of the Nicollet Mall redesign could increase by more than $40,000, if the Minneapolis City Council approves an extended contract with the firm on Friday.

Citing a significant need to raise public awareness and educate and engage the community in the design phase, the city’s Ways & Means Budget Committee on Wednesday afternoon approved a recommendation to the council to extend the contract with McFarland Communications through July 1, 2014. That would increase the cost from $49,000 to $90,000.

The council will vote on the issue at its regular meeting Friday.

The firm has been educating the public during the phase of selecting a design consultant, chosen in September — New York-based James Corner Field Operations.

This vision for Nicollet Mall was submitted by the design team led by James Corner Field Operations.

Now, the concept design phase is underway, and the final design concept is expected to be finished by spring of 2014.

Minneapolis partnered with the Minneapolis Downtown Council to redesign and reconstruct 12 blocks of Nicollet Mall, between Washington Avenue and Grant Street. The project is expected to cost between $30 million and $40 million.

Construction is set to take place in 2015, with completion in 2016.