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City awaits recommendation on Palace lights

Light 'em up. The city of Mitchell will receive a recommendation to solve concerns over the lights on the Corn Palace domes and surrounding the murals. The report is expected to be heard at Monday's regular City Council meeting. Last year, Counci...

Light 'em up.

The city of Mitchell will receive a recommendation to solve concerns over the lights on the Corn Palace domes and surrounding the murals. The report is expected to be heard at Monday's regular City Council meeting.

Last year, Councilman Marty Barington indicated the lights on the recently renovated Corn Palace domes are not bright enough. Earlier this year, Mayor Jerry Toomey said some people have difficulty seeing the murals at night due to excessively bright border lights. Months later, Barington's concerns haven't dissipated.

"At night time, I look up there and I just don't see the shine that I want to see," Barington said Thursday.

Toomey said the city awaits a recommendation from Baltimore-based Image Engineering to consider solutions to the persistent lighting issues. According to the upcoming City Council agenda, discussions with the company began in March and the group conducted a site visit to inspect the lights on April 21.

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During the site visit, the company spoke with city officials including Toomey, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein and Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt about the lights. After the visit, Toomey was optimistic the company would have a solution.

"They said they have a solution, so let's hope it's a good solution," Toomey said Wednesday.

If the city moves forward with improvements to the lights, Barington hopes to bring more "glamour and luster" to the domes as well as a "dazzling light show" that could be set to music. Barington thinks a nightly light show in the summer months could keep tourists in town overnight and attract additional tax dollars to the city.

Without the recommendations in hand, Barington declined to commit to a dollar figure he would be willing to support for improved lighting, but he said the new lighting would benefit the Mitchell economy.

It has been six months since Barington shared his initial concerns about the lights at a City Council work session, but he's not discouraged by the lengthy delay in improving the lights.

"You know, it's taken a little time, but I think it's going to be well worth it for what we've been waiting for," Barington said.

On Wednesday, Toomey wondered if the Corn Palace renovation architect, Minneapolis-based Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd., either cut corners when choosing the dome and mural lighting or thought they had the right solution. He said this may have cost the city more in the long-term.

"You try to save money, and sometimes when you try to save a nickel you end up spending a dollar," Toomey said. "And I think that's what happened here."

Related Topics: CORN PALACE
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