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Minneapolis wants to spend an extra $45k on PR for Nicollet Mall

The renovation has been a public relations headache for the city.

The Nicollet Mall renovation has been a bit of a PR nightmare for Minneapolis, so it's probably no surprise the city wants to keep the project's public relations firm around a while longer. 

On Monday, the City Council's Ways & Means Committee approved a plan to extend said firm's contract by four months, and pay them an extra $45,000.

It means Clear Night Group, LLC will continue to handle Nicollet Mall's PR through April 2018, and make a total of $95,000 for the job – if the plan is approved. 

"The additional work related to the media coverage, which was not part of the initial contract, resulted in the need to increase the time frame and the total contract amount," the city says in its contract amendment

That unforeseen "media coverage" has a lot to do with the renovation's many problems, including the loss of several Nicollet Mall businesses.

Interestingly, though, Clear Night itself is responsible for one of Nicollet Mall's biggest headaches: the muddled "substantially complete" campaign, where that seemingly dubious phrase was used on advertisements to sort-of promise a completion date of November 2017. 

As we've noted before, the weird phrasing of the ads distracted from the city's message, with critics focusing on the meaning of the words instead of any good news about the renovation's progress. 

Nonetheless, the PR agency's work will continue, with the city saying "the time extension is needed to cover media surrounding art installation in 2018."

The plan to retain Clear Night could be approved as early as Friday, when the council holds its next full meeting. 

The latest on the renovation

As noted above, the renovation will be "substantially complete" next month, but the addition of public art projects along the mall will continue into the new year.

Aside from that, things are moving along, and there are some visible signs the undertaking – which was started in 2015 – is finally, really coming to a close.

As the Star Tribune notes, crews began removing traffic barricades on Friday, "signaling the project is nearly complete."

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