Central Corridor marketing program on hold

A $1.2 million marketing program to bring customers to the Central Corridor light-rail construction zone in St. Paul has hit a speed bump.

Last month, the Metropolitan Council approved awarding the contract to St. Paul-based advertising firm Mod & Co. But the project money is tied up while the agency's attorneys hash out how to carry out the plan without violating state law.

Mod & Co.'s Luke Soiseth said he's eager to get to work.

"We're just waiting to get a signed contract," Soiseth said. "As you can imagine, internally here, our wheels are already turning. But we can't officially start until we have that contract in. My last conversation with them is that it should be very, very soon."

Soiseth said the campaign will provide incentives for customers to shop at affected businesses.

Mark Furhmann, who oversees new rail development for the Met Council, said state law doesn't expressly give the council the power to administer the marketing program.

"Our authority is narrower than cities are who can create their economic development authorities, so we're working with the city of St. Paul to put that in place," he said.

Lawyers from the Met Council and the city of St. Paul are working on a joint agreement that would allow the city to oversee the program. Fuhrmann said the marketing push will begin as soon as possible, but could not offer a timeline.

Construction crews resumed work on the corridor in early March.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.