MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A corn-themed tourist destination in South Dakota will have enough corn to decorate murals despite a dry summer.
Scott Schmidt, director of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, told the Daily Republic that the city has enough corn to create the nine corn murals surrounding the facility thanks to recent rain.
"After we got that inch-and-a-quarter of rain two or three weeks ago, our corn really took to that rain," he said last week.
About 275,000 ears of corn are needed for the building, which is currently adorned with 2-year-old dilapidated murals. The city in southeast South Dakota skipped revamping the murals last year as part of a cost-cutting directive. It hasn't been affected by a drought scare since 2012.
Schmidt said the city hadn't seriously considered a backup plan for the corn if the drought continued. Officials floated the idea of making the murals with fewer colors, which is what the city did when the drought affected crops in 2012.
"There was a small enough scare as to wondering what we were going to have to do if we had to go a third year," he said. "To me, it definitely put a value on the importance of making sure you go through the right process of having to decorate every single year, because you can't plan on a drought."
City Councilwoman Susan Tjarks said Mitchell will replace the music-themed murals with weather-themed murals. Schmidt said the estimated cost of redecorating is just over $115,000.
Tjarks said the building is a "community icon" and that the city learned an "important lesson" after skipping decorating the murals last year.
"It is unfortunate that the council and Scott (Schmidt) did not have input into the decision that was made to not decorate a year ago," she said. "I'm certain the council would have voted against skipping a year."
Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com