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Mayor will propose extra $3.5 million for Nicollet Mall

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: June 12, 2014 - 3:08 PM

Mayor Betsy Hodges will include an additional $3.5 million for the Nicollet Mall overhaul in her 2015 budget proposal, to make up for a slight shortfall in state bonding dollars.

That's according to the city's director of transit-oriented development, David Frank, who said in an e-mail that the issue will be outlined more fully at a transportation and public works committee next week.

The $3.5 million would bring the total project budget to $50 million and leverage a private-sector commitment to pay up to $25 million in matching dollars. The state bonding bill only awarded the project $21.5 million, however, leaving the city to decide whether it wanted to fill the hole.

"We certainly don’t want to leave any money on the table," council president Barb Johnson said last month. "And our project budget is $50 million. So we’re going to have to talk about how that gap gets filled."

The mayor's budget, which will be formally delivered by August 15, is subject to City Council approval in December.

Precisely where the money will come from remains unclear. Hodges spokeswoman Kate Brickman, who confirmed the news, said the mayor is still in the early phases of preparing her budget.

The city has already spent just over $1 million on the project to date, largely in the design and public outreach process. The new "Nicollet Mile" is expected to include more skyway connections, a sloping curb and five distinct "districts," as well as more outdoor seating and trees.

The private portion of the project is expected to be paid through assessments on local property owners. Those assessments will get passed through to Nicollet Mall tenants through rent.

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