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OUR VIEW: Why the delay on Sixth Avenue?

Earlier this year, it seems Mitchell's Main Street was primed for a facelift, but progress has since flatlined. So why the delay? Throughout the summer, city officials indicated work on the $426,000 Sixth Avenue plaza would kick off in the fall. ...

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Earlier this year, it seems Mitchell's Main Street was primed for a facelift, but progress has since flatlined.

So why the delay?

Throughout the summer, city officials indicated work on the $426,000 Sixth Avenue plaza would kick off in the fall. But the section of Sixth Avenue sits untouched, remaining an eyesore blocked off by unsightly barricades next to our city's signature attraction known as the World's Only Corn Palace.

We've seen early designs for the plaza that show a vibrant green space filled with trees, grass and shrubbery rather than the cold and unwelcoming asphalt currently occupying the space, and we hoped to see progress on the project sooner.

And while we're glad Mitchell's Main Street is getting some attention from city officials in the form of a $426,000 revitalization, the failure to move forward on the Sixth Avenue project has had a negative impact on our city's single greatest attraction.

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With work expected to begin this fall, the Corn Palace's trademark murals were not replaced. Of the nine murals on the building, seven overlook Sixth Avenue, and Mayor Jerry Toomey used the Sixth Avenue work to justify leaving the murals up for a second consecutive year.

"They're going to tear out the sidewalk, the curb and the street, and I'm thinking, 'Well, what a perfect year to try this,' " Toomey told The Daily Republic in May.

But the city hasn't torn out the sidewalk, and the curb and street appear the same as they ever were.

While leaving the murals up another year was primarily pitched as a cost-saving measure - saving an estimated $157,000 to redecorate each year, according to numbers acquired from city officials in May - we can't help but wonder if citizens were misled about the timeline of the Sixth Avenue project to calm opposition to the mayor's mural plan.

We still believe the Sixth Avenue green space will be a fantastic project for the city of Mitchell, and we're not certain leaving the murals up for another year is good or bad for tourism until a local group conducts a poll of Corn Palace visitors.

What's more concerning is with each passing day that Sixth Avenue sits untouched, the likelihood that this project will be completed soon seems unlikely.

And perhaps even worse, if construction does not begin until next spring, will Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and company be left to rot along the walls of the Corn Palace for a third year?

Related Topics: OUR VIEWCORN PALACE
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