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Palace murals need more manpower

The Corn Palace murals could use some help. As cold weather and snow draw closer, Mitchell leaders are looking for some part-time help to finish the murals that adorn the city's famous attraction. "We just need some manpower, more than anything e...

The large mural panel directly east of the Corn Palace's main entrance is still awaiting completion, as shown here Monday along Main Street. Wet weather and a shortage of workers are among the primary reasons the work has not yet been completed. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
The large mural panel directly east of the Corn Palace's main entrance is still awaiting completion, as shown here Monday along Main Street. Wet weather and a shortage of workers are among the primary reasons the work has not yet been completed. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

The Corn Palace murals could use some help.

As cold weather and snow draw closer, Mitchell leaders are looking for some part-time help to finish the murals that adorn the city's famous attraction.

"We just need some manpower, more than anything else," Mayor Bob Everson said.

A majority of the murals are done, but there's still work to be done primarily on the west side of the building, which faces Main Street and holds the main entrance to the Corn Palace. Everson said one of the issues was that the corn was wet when it was harvested, so the drying process has taken some time.

The issue came up during the public input part of Monday's Mitchell City Council meeting, held at City Hall. Council member Kevin McCardle said he was asked by local citizens when the project would be finished.

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"It wasn't ready to go and our kids who were doing the decorating - primarily the college kids and the part-timers - they went back to school," Everson said. "So we're working through it with fewer people and we're a little bit behind."

The facility traditionally has a number of part-time workers during the summer - primarily high school students - who work to get corn, other plants and grasses installed. Everson said he was in contact with Mitchell Technical Institute and some area schools about getting some help on the project but that hasn't gotten very far.

"We know we're going to need to work at it," Everson said. "We're hoping it doesn't take too much time."

In May, the Corn Palace announced the murals would have a military theme, including homages to Native American Code Talkers, the raising of the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, military jets and submarines. The designs also recognize the two versions of the USS South Dakota. A battleship in World War II, the USS South Dakota was a key vessel in serving in both the European and Pacific theaters. Currently, a modern version of the USS South Dakota - a nuclear-powered submarine that is currently being built for the U.S. Navy - was delivered to the Navy on Sept. 24. Construction on the project began in 2013 and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2019.

Everson said the city hopes the murals are done soon, with a special event on the horizon. Plans are in the works for a special dedication of the murals on Oct. 26, recognizing the local military members and also to have special personnel of the current USS South Dakota on hand.

TIF process changes receive first approval

During its regular meeting, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to change the city's tax increment financing district creation process. Primarily, it would aim to remove the city's TIF Committee and replace it with an internal staff review prior to moving to the meeting stages with the city's Planning Commission and City Council.

"We wouldn't be losing a lot of substance," City Attorney Justin Johnson said about revising the city's process. He noted Mitchell is one of the few cities in the state with a seperate TIF committee for reviewing these proposals. Mitchell's committee includes representatives from the City Council, Planning Commission, city staff, the Mitchell Area Development Corporation and Mitchell School District.

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City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said the change would also be helpful for developers who have a particular need for timeliness on projects, noting the three committee levels can slow projects down. She said the more private internal staff review would allow the city to have "candid conversations" about projects before they go to a public meeting.

"The City Council has had a significant amount of discussion on TIFs previously and we will still outline what those policy recommendations are (to applicants)," she said. "We're looking at streamlining it to make it easier on the applicants."

Under the plan, the city would also approve a TIF handbook to outline the applicable requirements and procedures for TIFs in Mitchell. Council President Steve Rice had questions regarding what the state has been doing regarding economic development rules but said that as long as the public meetings for the Planning Commission or City Council remained a key part of the process, he was on board.

"Meetings are the places to question and vet that," he said.

"This doesn't short-circuit any of that," said Ellwein, following up.

Consent agenda

The following items were approved as part of the council's consent agenda:

• Minutes from Sept. 17 meeting and committee reports.

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• The following raffle permits: DWU/C.E.O. Club drawing on Nov. 20; Mitchell Area Safehouse/Holiday Spirit with the drawing on Nov. 30; Mitchell Area Networking Association on Jan. 10, 2019.

• Set the following dates: Oct. 15 for the transfer of a retail (on-sale) liquor license RL-5765 from ACT Booking Services LLC doing business as Moonlight Bar & Lounge, 511 N. Main St., to V.V. Inc., doing business as The Hideout, 510 E. Havens Ave., Suite #2; a bid opening at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 for cemetery hay land for a three-year lease through 2021.

• To supplement the Parks Department budget in the amount of $15,433 for a mosquito spraying truck replacement from a grant.

• Authorize a contingency request for $9,356 to install LED lighting in the Armory gym above City Hall.

• Authorize an application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.

• Approve gas and fuel quotations, pay estimates for Oct. 1, approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

• Tabled until Oct. 15 any action on Resolution No. 2018-53, a quiet title action regarding a piece of land near the Salvation Army and Subway buildings (roughly in the 800 block between North Sanborn Boulevard and North Duff Street) that is believed to be owned by the city but has no official record and Davison County does not list an owner. Johnson said there's still some items to be ironed out with Davison County Title Company.

• Meeting as the Board of Adjustment: Approved the application of Carol Ragle's conditional use/home occupation (homeopathic treatment) business at 820 W. Third Ave. The property is zoned R2 in a single-family residential district.

• Approved agreement to contract with McCook County to provide traffic services in addition to E911 services that are already in place with the county.

• Awarded a bid for south water tower painting project to Maguire Iron, of Sioux Falls, at a cost of $173,400. (The engineer's estimate was $189,000.) Six bids were received and work would begin in the spring of 2019.

• Approved amending the 2019 annual appropriation ordinance for the amount of tax to be certified to the Davison County auditor to $5,175,955. The change accounts for the growth percentage for 2019. The city of Mitchell levy for 2019 is $5.612 per $1,000 in taxable valuation, compared to the 2018 levy of $5.814 per thousand.

• Heard the second reading and adopted ordinance No. O2018-11 regarding alternative waste drop-off sites. In part, the ordinance allows the city's public works department to develop alternate sites, such as future compost or recycling sites, while also stipulating rules for each site (hours, materials, etc.) and makes violating the rules as municipal offense.

• Held a 27-minute executive session to consult with legal counsel. No action was taken.

Related Topics: CORN PALACE
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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