‘World’s Largest Pelican’ may have a new perch
A new view of the greatest pelican on earth?
That’s not the only riverfront visual that may change, as the dredging and earth work plans take shape for the Pelican Rapids dam site.
“Pelican Pete” will be moved; and the “windmill house” goes away.
That was the abbreviated message at the April 27 Pelican Rapids City Council meeting. DNR officials and engineers were on hand to outline initial earthwork plans, which could start as soon as freeze-up in late fall 2021.
The “World’s Largest Pelican” will needed to be relocated, and raised higher with dam removal.
And, it could be a good thing for viewers.
The pelican statue may even relocate to the other side of the river, where the block “windmill house” is now positioned.
This may actually be an improvement, from a sight-line standpoint, noted city public works superintendent Brian Olson. The opposite side of the river offers a more direct view from broadway, and from the sidewalk platform on the bridge.
By raising the Pelican, it will also eliminate the safety issue on the platform, where tourists have slipped and fallen during high water periods—when getting a close-up look at the pelican.
While there may be a nostalgic faction that will miss the so-called “windmill building,” the structure really serves no purpose.
Pelican Pete’s final location is yet to be determined.
Also uncertain is the replacement of the pedestrian bridge crossing—which will be removed along with the dam.
The DNR has stated in the past that its funds for dam removal and river restoration would not include installation of a footbridge—which would mean the structure would be at city cost. Also, depending timeline and funding, the site could be “bridgeless” for a season.