OUR VIEW: City right to buy Jitters property
It appears the city of Mitchell will soon own another piece of land in the downtown business district. Recently, the City Council approved an expenditure of $27,500 to help acquire the former Jitters Coffeehouse building, with the Mitchell Area C...
It appears the city of Mitchell will soon own another piece of land in the downtown business district.
Recently, the City Council approved an expenditure of $27,500 to help acquire the former Jitters Coffeehouse building, with the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce providing an equal amount. Located in the 500 block of North Main Street, the building apparently hasn't had much success as a business but it still is located in a prime area near the Corn Palace.
It was to our disappointment that the city didn't purchase the former Enchanted World Doll Museum building when it came up for sale a few years back. Located just across the street from the Corn Palace, it would have been wise for the city to pull the trigger on the site, but it didn't.
Instead, the building was purchased by a Seventh Day Adventist minister who wanted to convert the museum into a restaurant that serves international cuisine. Generally, all that's happened to the building -- renamed Valtiroty Shiloh's Tabernacle -- is that it's been used to sell religious-themed T-shirts.
Nothing personal against the owners, but we don't think a religious-themed T-shirt business is the best fit for a building located directly across the street from the historic Corn Palace, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
In 2011, we opined about this, and pleaded with the city to do a better job of gathering up available land in the neighborhood of the Corn Palace. To hear that the city is purchasing the Jitters building for $55,000 pleases us.
Certainly, we would have rather seen the building become a success on its own. A coffee shop downtown is a good neighbor for a tourist attraction.
But there's no guarantee the building would have remained a coffee shop under new ownership, and now the city can have a say in what, exactly, that property will be used for in the future. This is good thinking on the city's part.
The goal is to eventually change the look of the area around the Corn Palace. We like to hear that, and it will be much easier to do if the city controls much of the property in the neighborhood.