Mitchell zeroes in on city hall site at First and RowleyCity government officials have obtained purchase options that could place a new city hall in the southwest section of downtown Mitchell.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic
City government officials have obtained purchase options that could place a new city hall in the southwest section of downtown Mitchell.
Mayor Ken Tracy, in a Tuesday interview with The Daily Republic, said the city has options to buy two adjoining properties on the northeast corner of the First Avenue and Rowley Street intersection for a total of $171,500.
Purchasing the land will require City Council approval. Two existing structures would then have to be demolished to make way for a new city hall building.
Tracy said he sees potential in the location, which is nearly surrounded by parking lots and neighbors two city-owned facilities: the Public Safety Center to the southwest across the intersection, and the James Valley Community Center one block to the west. He also envisions a new city hall as a better “gateway” for visitors entering downtown along First Avenue. “In addition to having a city hall, we could accomplish some urban renewal,” Tracy said. The existing properties at the location are the Mimi’s Attic building at 124 W. First and the Brenda’s Sew and So structure, which Tracy said appears to be two buildings but is actually one property, at 116 W. First.
The city has options to purchase the Mimi’s Attic property from Marianne McCreight for $120,000 and the Brenda’s Sew and So building from Robert Bates for $51,500. Tracy said the negotiations lasted “a couple of months.”
The City Council has discussed and tentatively approved spending around $2.5 million to build a new city hall, Tracy said, but he’s not sure that’s enough. Once the cost to buy the two properties and demolish them is figured in, that leaves only $2.2 million to $2.3 million for construction, he said.
“I’m just concerned about what kind of building we would have. I’m not promoting anything extravagant, but I’m doubtful at $2.2 million to $2.3 million that we’re going to have a city hall building that the city can both be proud of and that will serve us for the next 50 years.”
Tracy said he hopes the City Council will consider adding some more money to the potential project — perhaps another $500,000 — though that has not been officially proposed yet.
Mitchell city leaders have been talking about moving out of the existing City Hall for decades. It’s attached to the north side of the Corn Palace, and it’s long been thought the space could be better used for tourism-related exhibits and activities.
Directly east of the site is the Longhorn Bar, which has been vacated and will be demolished. Tracy said that property, which could also end up in city ownership, is not part of the proposed city hall site.