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Corn Palace project within budget

A $7.175 million renovation of the Corn Palace is still within budget roughly two and a half months before construction is slated to begin, the Mitchell City Council was told Monday night at City Hall.

Eric Amel, of Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, a Minneapolis-based firm designing the project for the city, updated the council on the project.

"We hope to make it better than it has been for a very long time," Amel said.

Construction of the first phase of the project is expected to begin in May. On Monday night, the council set an April 9 date to receive and consider bids.

The plan, approved by the council last summer, calls for changes to the exterior of the Corn Palace, including new light-up domes, which will have LED lights with the ability to change color.

The total cost of the three domes, including lighting, is approximately $800,000, according to Amel, who told the council that the domes had been a budgetary concern given how vital they are to the entire project.

"I was a little bit concerned about the cost of domes, but we're on budget," he said.

Changes to the exterior of the Corn Palace will also include larger murals with improved lighting, the addition of large windows that will open to a walk-out balcony above the marquee and new, geometric tile to replace the brick facade below the murals.

"We're just trying to bring back the animation you found in the early days of the Corn Palace," Amel said.

A set of small wind turbines will be installed on the south side of the Corn Palace, which will partially power the lighting on the roof but will be more for decoration, Amel said. All of the light bulbs bordering the existing murals will be replaced with LED lights.

"I think that tactic will actually net a lot more energy savings in future years," he said.

Interior changes include an expanded, two-story entranceway with a relocated box office and concierge station, with decorative light fixtures and access to the second-floor balcony entranceway.

"It's going to be quite dramatic," Amel said, referring to the entranceway.

There will be improvements made to the temperature control system to better regulate the temperatures in the lobby and arena. Farther inside the lobby, beneath the stadium seating, decorative "corn cob columns" will be installed, as well as a large printed laminate mural along a portion of a lobby wall.

The Corn Palace's lobby area is expected to reopen by mid-August -- before the Corn Palace Festival. The installation of the domes will take longer than the other changes and is expected to be completed by October.

Consent agenda

Council members approved the following items as part of a consent agenda:

• The meeting agenda, council minutes from the prior meeting and minutes from various committee meetings.

• An application to transfer a retail on-sale liquor license from Ty's Casino, 1610 S. Burr St., to Platinum Player's Club, 719 N. Sanborn Blvd., (license will be inactive).

• An application to transfer a retail on-sale liquor license from A-Z Gaming Inc., 1801 N. Main St. Suite No. 4 and No. 5, to The Grille, 1801 N. Main St., Suite No. 4 and No. 5.

• A March 25 date to receive and consider bids for the demolition of the Garden of Eden building; for the annual sidewalk construction project; curb, gutter, concrete and paving; paving and overlay; landfill cell design and construction; and a motor grader.

• Change orders for the construction of a second indoor ice rink at the Mitchell Activities Center, increasing the project's cost by $1,833 for additional transformer work, electrical lift covers, additional installation of transformer enclosures and additional communication cable for the scoreboard.

• Pay estimates.

• Gas and diesel fuel bids.

• Bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires, and authorization for payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business

In scheduled business, council members:

• Sat as the board of adjustment and set a March 17 date for a hearing on the application of Earl and Barb Vandever for a side-yard corner variance of 1 foot as opposed to the required 20 feet and a backyard variance of zero feet as opposed to the required 5 feet to construct a garage at 820 E. Fourth Ave.; and set a March 17 date for a hearing on the application of Ila Rumbolz for a sign variance to erect a 4-by-4-foot sign and a 24-by-24-inch banner on her home located at 515 E. Third Ave.

• Adopted a resolution of necessity for construction of new sidewalks in Mitchell, specifically the 600 to 1200 blocks of West Williams Street, the 1000 to 1200 blocks of West Hurst Avenue, the 600 to 700 blocks of Kynette Place, the 700 block of Mitchell Boulevard, and sidewalk maintenance in various locations; the projects were discussed at a Sidewalk Committee meeting prior to the council meeting.

• Adopted a resolution to work with the South Dakota Department of Transportation to install a bike path at the Rowley Street/Interstate 90 underpass; the project was discussed at a Sidewalk Committee meeting prior to the council meeting.

• Adopted a resolution to request the South Dakota Department of Transportation hire Brosz Engineering to conduct bridge inspections in Mitchell, and bill the city for 20 percent of the cost.

• Adopted a resolution declaring various sidewalks in the city as hazardous.

• Adopted a resolution to plat Lot 3A, a Subdivision of Lot 3 of Menard's Addition in the west one-half of the northeast one-quarter of Section 34, Township 103 North, Range 60 West of the Fifth P.M., Davison County.

• Approved an ordinance to re-appropriate funds from numerous city departments previously appropriated and approved, but not spent in the original year of appropriation.

• Approved an ordinance to supplement the information technology portion of the general fund with $1,500 for vehicle repair, $1,000 for gas, oil and tires, and $1,500 for software; the health and welfare portion of the general fund with $3,445 for building demolition; the economic development portion of the general fund with $1,100 for building acquisition; and the 2013 community projects portion of the debt service fund with $1,025 for bond-paying agent fee; all from property tax revenues.

• Approved the first of two required readings of an ordinance rezoning real property at 314 W. Birch Ave. and 316 W. Birch Ave. from Public Lands and Institutions District to Medium Density Residential District, rezoning the property following the construction of the bike path at the request of a nearby homeowner.

• Approved the first of two required readings of an ordinance to supplement the culture and recreation portion of the general fund with $500 from the general fund cash balance for the Historic Preservation Commission; the sports complexes portion of the parks, recreation and forestry special revenue fund with $13,500 from the park fund cash balance for soccer complex equipment; and the water portion of the enterprise fund with $2,000 from the water fund cash balance for an online filter monitor.

• Approved the appointment of Dave Tronnes and Susan Tjarks, as an alternate, for the consolidated Board of Equalization to hear assessment appeals from property owners.

• Approved the health insurance agreement for 2014.

• Approved the annual financial report for 2013.

• Approved the purchase of a Toolcat 5600G from Morris Equipment for $33,213.37, which was already included in the budget.

• Approved the right-of-way certificate, utilities certificate and bid letting authorization for the project to rebuild the West End Bridge at Lake Mitchell, which is estimated to cost $300,000.

• Approved an amendment to a work order for the Spruce Street improvement project, increasing the project amount by $3,825.

• Approved a transmission line easement with East River Electric, to allow a transmission line to run beneath the city's landfill property, for which the city would be paid $3,000.

• Tabled an agreement with Geo-Tek for an asbestos survey of the Corn Palace/City Hall building prior to demolition, to correct a public notice error.

• Conducted a closed meeting known as an "executive session" for the purpose of consulting with legal counsel or reviewing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee, or prospective public officer or employee; and for the purpose of consulting with legal counsel or reviewing communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters.