Nicollet Mall will get trees to replace those that have withered and could also see a burst of greenery with new planters.
The sprucing up comes in the second summer since the mall’s renovation, and Don Elwood, director of transportation planning and engineering for the city of Minneapolis, said public input informed the changes.
The City Council will consider boosting two contracts — adding $19,000 to one and $1.2 million to another — for the work to proceed. The costs fall within the project’s $50 million budget, he said.
“What we’re doing with this contract change is to add flexible greening into the corridor, which means that we can add movable planter-type facilities on to the mall,” Elwood said.
During an event or program, the planters could be moved for more public space. The contract increases would also address a need for more electrical capacity on the mall, such as outlets for festival lighting, Elwood said.
Since its reopening, Nicollet Mall has hosted high-profile festivities during the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four.
Council Member Steve Fletcher said he’s also heard from people seeking more greenery, and follow-up work is typical on a project like Nicollet Mall.
“With a big project like this, that’s this impactful, you sort of know that once you see how people are actually using the space, and once you see what it actually feels like … you’re going to want to make some changes,” Fletcher said.
The city is already replacing trees that haven’t survived on the mall, Elwood said, and 45 new ones should go in before the end of June.
Their survival is particularly important, said Joe Tamburino, chairman of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association.
“Plants are important; big, nice pots, that’s all fine. But the biggest thing, the most important thing, is the survival of the trees,” Tamburino said.
He said the Downtown Neighborhood Association has donated $30,000 over the past three years to support tree-watering efforts, which it plans to continue with the new replacement trees.
“You hate to walk around and all of a sudden you see a tree that last year was beautiful, and it may only be like two, three years old, and now it’s dead,” Tamburino said of trees throughout the city.
The mall is continuing to evolve and become more beautiful as more artwork and greenery are added to it, Fletcher said. The city continues to respond as people use the space, he said.
“I think it’s going to continue to become a place that people think of as a destination and that people think of as a nice place to spend a little bit of time maybe between work, on their commute or at some point during their day,” Fletcher said.
If approved by the City Council, planters could be added to the mall late this fall.
Zoe Jackson • 612-673-7112