Mitchell, S.D., puts its Christmas tree behind traffic barriers
If Santa Claus is coming to town, he may want to bring a hard hat. The city of Mitchell's Christmas tree sits behind orange and white barriers on East Sixth Avenue, directly south of the Corn Palace. The ongoing renovation at the Corn Palace prev...
If Santa Claus is coming to town, he may want to bring a hard hat.
The city of Mitchell's Christmas tree sits behind orange and white barriers on East Sixth Avenue, directly south of the Corn Palace. The ongoing renovation at the Corn Palace prevented the tree from being placed in the courtyard across from the city-owned tourist attraction, where it was last year, Mayor Ken Tracy told The Daily Republic on Tuesday.
"It's probably not the ideal location, but under the circumstances it's one that will serve us for this year while we're under construction," Tracy said. "We'll live with it."
Councilman Mel Olson said more than half a dozen residents have asked him why the tree was put in its current location, though he added most were more curious than upset.
"They would just like to have the tree out where people can see it and enjoy it and not have to hunt for it," Olson said.
Olson made other members of the City Council aware of the complaints at their last meeting Dec. 1.
The tree, donated by Mitchell resident Ernest Hines, was lit for the first time Nov. 24 and has more than 15,000 lights synced to Christmas music. There was an issue with the lights malfunctioning after the tree was first put up, but that problem has since been fixed, Tracy said.
The main entrance to the Corn Palace and the 600 block of North Main Street, directly in front of the building, have been closed since construction began in June. Visitors have still been able to enter the Corn Palace through a temporary entrance on the south side of the building, near where the tree is currently displayed.
In the past, the tree was placed in the center of Main Street at the intersection with Third Avenue. The tree was moved last year to the courtyard across from the Corn Palace to complement the annual Christmas at the Palace event and to ease concerns about motorist safety and snow removal, Tracy said.
Olson said the ongoing construction at the Corn Palace presented a unique situation for the city, but acknowledged the complaints from residents about the location for the tree.
"We've heard the complaints and we'll not make this mistake again," Olson said.