Corn Palace future to be discussed tonightA meeting on the future of the Corn Palace is set for tonight. It will be held at the Corn Palace and starts at 5:30 p.m. Members of the committee and a recently hired architect team will attend to gather community input.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A meeting on the future of the Corn Palace is set for tonight. It will be held at the Corn Palace and starts at 5:30 p.m. Members of the committee and a recently hired architect team will attend to gather community input.
The Tourism/Corn Palace Area Development Committee of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce will host the meeting.
Hannah Walters, director of the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau and a member of the committee, said this is the first but not the last time the public’s views and input will be sought.
“We want to really listen and hear people’s ideas and their vision for the area,” she said.
“We really believe this should be a community-driven process and we want to include the public from the very beginning.”
The committee aims to develop a plan for downtown urban design to revitalize the Corn Palace area, and develop concepts for Corn Palace exhibits, murals and future brand potential.
Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle, the Minneapolis-based consultants hired to work with the committee, will be represented at the meeting.
Founding principal Tom Meyer, who has toured the Corn Palace, will attend tonight’s event.
In a phone interview this summer, Meyer said he will approach the study with the idea of preserving the current Corn Palace while finding ways to improve and perhaps increase its size.
Tonight’s meeting will be divided into several segments, Walters said.
“Primarily, what we’ll look at doing is having a short introduction of where the committee’s been, what our purpose is and then we’ll provide a little bit of information on the process of moving forward,” she said.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” Walters said. “We’d like to see a really good crowd.”
People who attend may be asked to split into smaller groups in another effort to gather public input, she said.
The current Corn Palace, which opened in 1921, is the third version of the building. It serves as a tourist attraction, houses basketball games and other sporting events, is the site for concerts and other events and is also used as a community gathering center for large events.
Some chamber officials, council members and other community members feel the iconic structure needs to be replaced or, at the least, updated.
In August, the Mitchell City Council voted to provide $51,500 to help fund the study to improve the building.
The chamber committee added that money to $34,000 the city gave the committee last year and the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce pledged $30,000 for the study.
The total to be spent on the project is $115,500.
The committee’s ultimate aim is to improve the visitor experience at the Corn Palace and in Mitchell by making the Corn Palace and the Corn Palace area more attractive and user-friendly, thereby increasing visitor numbers year-round.
The objectives of the committee include providing visitors with a positive experience, to educate as well as entertain and to increase visitor attendance, spending and the time spent in Mitchell.
Each speaker tonight will have a maximum of five minutes.
Written comments are encouraged and may be sent to the chamber at 601 N. Main St., Mitchell, S.D., 57301.