Ken Tracy and FDR

Ken Tracy celebrates his victory on Election Night, June 5. (Chris Huber/Republic)

Ken Tracy has been mayor of Mitchell for 77 days.

You’re forgiven if it seems much longer. Tracy has been a busy man, and Mitchell has seen a truly amazing run of activity. Monday night, the City Council authorized issuing $13.9 million in bonds for four major projects that could impact the city for decades.

Since Tracy took office after winning a six-candidate race for mayor, steps have been taken to expand and improve the Corn Palace, build an impressive new city hall at the south entry to downtown, add a second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center, as well as expanding and updating the Mitchell Public Library.

That’s where the $13.9 million will go, and almost assuredly more than that.

The city will have 25 years to pay it back at a very low interest rate. Other projects are coming off the books, sales tax revenue is on pace for a record year and studies are to be released next week on how to provide more housing while disclosing how Mitchell and area residents earn their incomes.

A building boom is predicted by the chamber’s top official, Bryan Hisel, who also said more jobs are being added to the city economy.

Tracy, a retired state employee, was a council veteran before filling the mayor’s chair after Lou Sebert retired from public life. Sebert served two terms marked in the end by public rejections of city decisions, including adding a city manager, converting three streets to two-way traffic, and offering off-sale alcohol on Sundays.

Of course, big steps on these projects were taken and the city’s finances improved despite a rocky time in the national economy. Give Sebert credit for manning the helm when that happened. But Tracy has taken control and led the council, and the city, have no doubt of that.

During the campaign, Tracy, 65, said he was ready for the promotion and the challenge. Since he became mayor, he has teamed with Council President Jeff Smith, whom he has known and worked with for years, the rest of the council and an experienced city staff to create all these plans and progress. It’s one of the most vital periods in city history.

Oh, and Tracy also showed up during the Traffic Commission meeting before the start of the council meeting Monday to call for a ban on texting and driving in the city. Smith then asked to have it added it to the commission agenda for Oct. 15.

That’s all. There hasn’t been any proposals to pave Main Street with corn-colored squares, double the size of Lake Mitchell or annex Mount Vernon.

Yet. I’ll check on those in the morning.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt took dramatic action when he was sworn in as president in 1933. Since then, presidents are always assessed on what they accomplish in their first 100 days.

Tracy still has 23 days to go. What’s next?

One thought on “Ken Tracy and FDR

  1. Hey Tom, I am all for progress and moving Mitchell foward, but the 13.9 million dollars should be spent in areas that will bring people to town and increase tax revenues for the city.

    Removing ceiling tiles in the corn palace at the cost of one million dollars will not bring more people to the corn palace. Building another gym next to the Corn Palace while tuning the upstairs gym into a museum doesn’t make sense to me. Also, putting in an elevator makes little sense when there is already handicap seating.

    These are mainly the same people that wanted to expand the Palace at a cost of 35-42 million dollars.
    I don’t think the same people that wanted to spend millions should continue making decisions for the future of the Corn Palace.
    Instead of spending millions on the above, why not switch out the soft seats for larger more comfortable seating along with more leg room between the rows.

    We have a beautiful facility that needs to be enhanced from the outside. During tourist season people don’t want to spend all their time indoors. Tom you are in tune of what has happened to Rapid Cities main street.

    I have talked to many hockey players, parents, and coaches and my understanding is that they need another practice facility. Well, that does not bring more revenue to Mitchell. Just as building a new events center will not bring HS state tournaments to Mitchell.

    The city has some control issues with DWU. They want to be exclusive and separate from the college. Big mistake that will cost the taxpayers dearly.

    Why would the city walk away from 10 million from the college. I would be happy to debate anyone on this issue. This would be a great story for you Tom.

    A new wellness center partnered with the colleges, Avera, Sandford? and the city will benefit the city as a whole. Let’s talk about real investment in our great city. A wellness center will generate millions of dollars for are community every year.

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