The fairest block of the mall

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July 19, 2004 // UPDATED 2:37 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

A group of volunteer judges has ranked a stretch of Nicollet Mall between 8th and 9th streets as the prettiest block along the major bus and pedestrian artery.

The block is home to restaurants Zelo's and McCormick and Schmick's, the US Bancorp Tower, the Medical Arts Building and a Walgreens drug store, among others.

The street ranked second in a contest held November 2003, edged out by a stretch of the mall between 12 and 13th streets, which is home to the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave.

Brian Fesler, a volunteer mall coordinator and director of special affairs for the Church of Scientology, 1011 Nicollet Mall, organizes the contests for a committee that reports to the Nicollet Mall Advisory Board.

The judges scored landscaping and mall maintenance in June, and are urged to consider the block as a whole, rather than single out one property as an eyesore or a beauty.

City Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward), one of the volunteers, said Nicollet Mall's outdoor cafes did the best job using flower planters.

"Clearly, what attracted the best attention were well-cared-for flowers. Every time the judges noted something positive, it had to do with the flowers. One judge wrote, 'The Local and Newsroom are flourishing,'" Fesler said.

More "disappointing" streetscapes got low marks from judges for lack of plants and the precence of weeds and litter, he said.

Fesler has privately contacted those property owners to give them a chance to make over their properties in preparation for the next round of judging scheduled for July 25-31.

Here's how the rest of the blocks fared in the contest:

- Second place: between 11th and 12th streets (home to Peavey Plaza, Brit's Pub and Caribou Coffee, among others);

- Third place: between 12th and 13th streets (Westminster Presbyterian Church);

- Fourth place: between 13th and Grant streets (Hyatt Regency and Millennium hotels);

- Fifth place: 10th to 11th streets (Target headquarters, WCCO TV and Key's Caf/);

- Sixth place: 6th to 7th streets (featuring City Center and the Gaviidae Common shopping center);

- Seventh place: 9th to 10th streets (Target store, The Local, Starbucks and Crate & Barrel);

- Eighth place: 7th to 8th streets (the Radisson Plaza Hotel, Marshall Field's and the IDS Tower);

- Ninth place: 5th to 6th streets (Nick and Tony's and Neiman Marcus);

- 10th place: 4th to 5th street (Xcel Energy and a Walgreens drug store);

- 11th place: Washington Avenue to 3rd street (the Cancer Survivor's Park and entrance to Marquette Plaza); and

- 12th place: 3rd to 4th street (the New Central Library under construction).

Fesler is seeking more volunteer judges. For more information call 338-5111 or e-mail at bftwincities@yahoo.com