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Downtown buildings to be demolished Wednesday

The demolition of a set of adjoined, city-owned buildings will begin Wednesday in downtown Mitchell to prepare a possible future city hall site.

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The 100 block of West First Avenue and the 100 block of North Rowley Street will be closed to traffic until the buildings have been razed, which is expected to take about a week, according to Mitchell Public Works Director Tim McGannon. The site is near the old Longhorn Bar demolition site, which also had First Avenue blocked recently.

“We’ll put some barricades up to try to keep the public out,” McGannon said. “It should be a pretty safe operation.”

A city-owned parking lot behind the buildings will be closed for several days while the debris is removed and the basements are filled.

The structures being demolished are the Mimi’s Attic building at 124 W. First Ave., as well as the Brenda’s Sew and So structure at 116 W. First Ave., which appears to be two buildings but is actually a single property.

The city, which is performing the demolition itself, bought both properties last year — Brenda’s Sew and So from Robert Bates for $51,500, and Mimi’s Attic from Marianne McCreight for $120,000.

Both properties were purchased with the intention of demolishing the existing structures to clear space for a new city hall. The existing City Hall, which is attached to the Corn Palace, will eventually be renovated to house tourism exhibits.

The city set aside $2.6 million for a new city hall as part of $13.9 million in bonds it sold in December and January for major projects in the city. Another $875,000 was set aside for the project in the city’s budget for next year, which brings the total amount available for the project to about $3.2 million.

Another city-owned property near the demolition site, the Garden of Eden at 214 W. First Ave., is also slated for demolition but needs to be cleared of asbestos first, McGannon said. The property was also bought by the city last year for $87,500 from Rod Titze.

The rubble of the former Longhorn Bar, at 101 N. Main St., is directly east of the set of buildings being demolished. The city purchased the former Longhorn for $1 from then-owner Jason Bates last year after the building was deemed unsafe due to a wall collapse.

The city recently agreed to purchase the Veteran of Foreign Wars building, at 105 N. Main St. directly north of the old Longhorn, for $175,000 after it was damaged during the demolition of the former Longhorn, with which it shared a common wall.