- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - A proposal by Mitchell Mayor Jerry Toomey to change the murals on the Corn Palace tourist attraction only every other year is receiving mixed reviews.

The city pays about $157,000 each year to redecorate the building’s exterior, which includes murals made from corn of different varieties and color. From 2011 to 2015, the Corn Palace has operated at a deficit of at least $300,000 annually, with expenses last year topping revenues by more than $425,000.

Toomey has ordered the existing murals to stay in place another year to avoid mural work conflicting with a street construction project and also to save money. If the murals don’t lose their luster, he said, the goal is to switch the mural-changing schedule to every two years.

At least two city council members want to keep the tradition of changing the murals annually, The Daily Republic newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/1XwAVei ).

“I’m good for a trial run but … I’m more of an every year kind of guy,” Councilman Marty Barington said.

Councilman Mel Olson also said he understands the logic of keeping the current murals in place for another year but that he doesn’t want to see the mayor’s decision become standard policy.

“Since this really is a marquee for the city, I think it’s worth the investment to have it look good,” he said.

The Corn Palace, billed as the world’s only palace dedicated to the grain, attracts about 200,000 tourists each year. The current theme is “Rock of Ages,” with murals featuring musicians including Willie Nelson and Elvis.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, https://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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