$7.2 million Corn Palace renovation to move ahead

Farm Forum

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — The sudden resignation of the director at Mitchell’s Corn Palace will not affect a $7.2 million renovation planned for the tourist attraction, the city’s mayor said.

The bulk of the planning is already done and the project will move ahead as planned, Mayor Ken Tracy told The Daily Republic. Construction is scheduled to begin in less than three months.

“I think we can proceed without any major glitches,” Tracy said.

Mark Schilling abruptly stepped down Monday after 13 years as Corn Palace director. Tracy said he asked Schilling to resign following a state audit that found several policies and procedures weren’t being followed. The state Division of Criminal Investigation is now looking into whether any laws were broken.

The audit has not been released to the public. Schilling told The Associated Press earlier this week that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

Tracy acknowledged that Schilling was closely involved in making recommendations for the renovation.

“From that standpoint, there is going to be some input that will be missing,” he said.

Architect Eric Amel said Schilling was a valuable source of knowledge about the Corn Palace and that Schilling’s participation in the project “will be greatly missed.”

“Fortunately, we’re far enough down the road where the design is well set,” Amel said. “We’ll be able to finalize all our plans.”