Mitchell's Palace Park Mall receiving long-awaited improvements

The space on the opposite side of the Corn Palace from Main Street is getting renovated. A grand opening is expected May 19.

Palace Park Mall during renovation.
Submitted photo

MITCHELL — As Laurie Cooper sat on the wall of the Palace Park Mall's new white stone rock garden, located across the street from the Corn Palace, she commented on a budding plant pushing its way through the cracks of the stones.

”It’s budding here, see? Look."

It was a fitting statement from Cooper, a leader of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, who is helping oversee the Tourism Division's $150,000 improvement project at the Palace Park Mall that is gearing up for its first tourism season.

These developments are currently underway, and Cooper expects them to be finished on May 19 — the day the park will host a grand opening. Plans entail the installation of tents and three permanent tables in the refurbished grassy area, along with the new rock garden. In addition, the mall's shop exteriors are currently being painted shades of vivid blue, red and brown.

“One of the hopes with these improvements is to support local events that the community has,” Cooper said.


The plan for the park is one that many leaders from the division say is overdue.

“When the city was renovated near the Corn Palace, we told ourselves that it was time. We wanted to continue in line with the improvements that are happening to the area, for the people of Mitchell," Cooper explained.

Cooper says the project also aims to provide support for other events such as First Fridays on Main.

Palace Park Mall renovation after initial stages

When the city of Mitchell renovated Sixth Avenue near the Corn Palace in 2017, Cooper says that the organization realized that it was time for a change to the Palace Park Mall, which hadn’t been renovated since 1983, as memorialized on its bronzed Broadway-fonted plaque.

Another key goal of the project her colleagues call her the expert on, she says, is to support local tourism.

“We want to support tourism in the area. Mitchell is a well-known destination for tourists [perfectly centered] between the Black Hills and several other large cities in the region,” Cooper said.

It’s a goal that is important to the town’s tourism, she explains, an industry that reaches far beyond what even she was aware of. Referencing the green and yellow fiber glass corn statue that sits atop the wooden platform in the park, Cooper recently learned the impact of "Cornelia" reaches beyond even the limits of the city of Mitchell.

“I recently had someone tell me that there was a biker group who had this statue in their list of objects to visit across the country. When it got taken down for cleaning, I had multiple people reach out to me and ask me about it.”


But besides the tourism benefits, Cooper, who has worked at the Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years and is a fourth generation Mitchell resident, said the renovations are also beneficial for the town in a more direct way.

It is an area that Dick Anderson, the longtime owner of Cherrybee’s flower boutique that recently set up shop in the Palace Park Mall after decades at 208 N. Main St., says is a great place for business as well.

“It’s a great location for us … we downsized from a two story building but you can’t beat the location,” Anderson said.

The grand opening of the Park Palace Mall is slated to be held May 19, nearly 36 years after the original Palace Mall opened in June 1983. There is one shop building still open for rent, and Cooper urges anyone interested to contact her for more details.

Kai Englisch joined The Mitchell Republic in 2023, where he currently works as a general assignment reporter covering the greater Mitchell area. Englisch graduated from St. John's College in 2022, receiving a B.A. in Liberal Arts. He speaks German and conversational Spanish.
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