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Next to go: Small domes on Palace

City officials said that the domes, which are visibly cracked and chipped, look too shabby to leave on the building especially since the larger centerpiece dome and newly painted minarets have been set in place.

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City officials said that the domes, which are visibly cracked and chipped, look too shabby to leave on the building

especially since the larger centerpiece dome and newly painted minarets have been set in place.

"Just take them down," said Mayor Alice Claggett, encouraging Council members. "Take them down tomorrow."

Council members made their decision after Jirsa provided a report that recommended having the structures replaced soon. He too thought the three smaller domes were beginning to look worn, but he said that at this time there was no danger in leaving them in place.

Jirsa also said that the material on the fiberglass domes was worn too thin to spend money repairing them. It is believed that the current small domes were placed on the building in the late '70s or early '80s.

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"I think they're too far gone to repair," he said. "It would be like painting a dented fender."

Now that it has been decided to remove the old domes, Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said city officials will have to work on deciding how and when to replace them.

Placing two new small domes on the building would cost about $425,000, Schilling told Council members.

Councilman Bill Rubendall asked city staff to research whether the current third-penny sales tax bond for the Corn Palace could be refinanced and extended in order to raise funds for the project as soon as possible.

The current bond was refunded in 1996 at $1 million to pay for locker room space and added seating. That bond is expected to mature in 2006. About half of third-penny proceeds goes toward the Corn Palace.

City Attorney Carl Koch and City Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson said they would look into the possibility of using third-penny funds.

"What you're suggesting is possible," Koch said.

Dean Strand, a local farmer who grows the colored corn for the Corn Palace, also gave $4,000 to the Council to be used for domes replacement.

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Strand said he gave the city a check because he didn't feel like he came through with the corn this year. Drought conditions in the Mitchell area hurt much of the colored corn and, as a result, only one wall was decorated this year.

"I feel like the city has been good to me," Strand said.

Strand also challenged other individuals and businesses to contribute to replacing the domes.

Schilling said Strand's contract with the city is roughly $30,000.

Currently, there is one small dome missing from the building. That dome, which was on the southeast corner of the building, was dislodged from its base nearly two years ago when snow slid down the roof and hit the dome's base. There are no plans at this time to replace the dome.

The city has spent about $1 million in repairs on the building in the last two years, including the construction and placement of the current large dome, replacing bricks on the front of the building, repairing the two minarets and repairing the south wall of the building.

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