Pair of Corn Palace forums set for JanuaryFirst meeting will gather public input; second will include presentation by architectural firm.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A pair of public forums on the proposed “Next Generation” Corn Palace has been scheduled for January, including one at which specific proposals will apparently be unveiled.
The Tourism/Corn Palace Area Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce will hold a public forum at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, at Mitchell City Hall Council Chambers.
The goal at this meeting is to gather public input.
A second forum will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Corn Palace.
At that second meeting, representatives from Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, the Minnesota architectural and consulting firm tasked with creating designs and proposals for a new Corn Palace, will make a presentation to the public.
The Jan. 5 meeting will be an information-gathering meeting, according to Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Hannah Walters.
The goal is to receive public input to help develop a comprehensive master plan for the Corn Palace area.
On Jan. 16, representatives from the MS&R architect team will be in attendance to present alternative concepts with cost estimates for renovations and/or additions, a downtown urban design for the renewal of the Corn Palace area, and concepts for the “Next Generation” Corn Palace exhibits, murals and future brand potential.
The current building is the city’s third Corn Palace structure. It opened in 1921.
Millions of people have visited the tourism mecca over the past 120 years since the first Corn Palace opened, but visitation has slowed in recent years. The city, which owns the building, has charged the Tourism/Corn Palace Area Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce to come up with a plan for renovate, expand and improve the facility and the surrounding area.
The chamber committee has been campaigning for the expanded and improved Corn Palace with a series of presentations to local service clubs.
Committee member Doug Dailey spoke to the Lions on Nov. 22 and the Rotary Club on Dec. 1 and has scheduled appearances at the Optimist Club on Jan. 4, the Mitchell Exchange Club on Jan. 9 and the Kiwanis Club on Jan. 11.
According to a presentation made to the Mitchell City Council on Monday night, the items under consideration are:
• A Corn Palace area plan, adding green space out front, and a more impressive and larger building, improving sight-lines to see the Corn Palace from more areas in the city.
• Bringing back the historical significance and elements of the Corn Palace, which was more ornate in its first two versions.
• Focusing on renovation of the existing Corn Palace to maintain intimacy and historical significance.
• Adding more and improved arena seating (a total of 4,000 to 4,500 compared to the current total of about 3,000) while improving sight-lines.
• Utilizing City Hall space for exhibits and an improved visitor experience. The council has discussed relocating to another building and turning over City Hall space to the adjacent Corn Palace.
The cost of the entire effort has been estimated at $20 million to $50 million.