By Dan Linehan
Free Press Staff Writer
NORTH MANKATO — It would take an acoustics expert to explain why, but residents in Lower North Mankato say sound from Riverfront Park concerts has a peculiar way of making it to their front doors.
“The neighbors I talk to in this area can hear it quite clearly, can sing along with the songs,” said Barbara Church, a Wheeler Street resident.
But some aren’t singing a happy tune.
“This particular issue seems to be hitting some people very hard,” she said. Church has received calls because she’s spoken to the North Mankato City Council about the noise twice this summer.
She’s also spoken with Mankato officials about it.
“I do believe Mankato’s trying to fix it,” she said. “I don’t think they’ve done it yet. I don’t think they’ve given up on trying.”
The city has heard the complaints. During August’s RibFest, they measured the sound in area neighborhoods at 50 decibels. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels.
City Manager Pat Hentges has said the city is adjusting the venue to control the sound.
North Mankato resident Tom Hagen, who sat on the committee that helped design the park, said he suggested at that time an acoustic specialist be hired to sort out issues like this beforehand.
“Of course, nobody paid any attention to that and here we are,” he said.
Even so, he notes the city of Mankato has been responsive to complaints.
Hagen and Church said they think the city should hire an expert to figure out a solution.
Church said this lesson in acoustics have convinced her there’s no simple answer.
“Your immediate thought is just turn down the speakers. It really isn’t that simple,” she said. “I didn’t know, for instance, that national acts, you’re not allowed to ask them to do anything to their volume because that impinges on their creative license.”
The summer/fall concert season at the park is over for this year.