By Louis Hoglund

One of the mysteries of Pelican Pete: How his webbed feet were attached to the concrete platform.
The ICS crew reviewed photos of the past and other information before the move.
If you look closely at the photo here, with Gary Beeter and Dave Hatlan of ICS, you can see the steel plates that are Pete’s webbed feet.
The plates were covered by concrete formed to look like pelican “paws.” The concrete was broken off—and saved—in order to replicate them for Pete’s renovation in the future.

The so-called “Windmill building” at the Pelican Rapids damsite will be the next piece of demolished history as part of the Pelican River restoration project. 

January 18 was the tentative date set for the demolition of the block structure that rises above the south side of the river.

The relocation of Pete was a full-day spectator event in Pelican Rapids Jan. 4, as the firm ICS and its crew lifted the big bird from its nest. Pelican Pete will remain off-site until next spring or early summer, while it is repaired, renovated, and re-painted. 

It will be moved back to a new location, on the south side of the river. 

The heavy equipment was rolling Monday morning, Jan. 16 at the Pelican city damsite, as crews prepared a firm passageway for another phase: Demolition of the concrete block “Windmill” building. Photo courtesy of Jarod Brosowske
Pelican Pete, aboard a trailer before his relocation.

The cost of the renovation will be the city’s responsibility, and for new city administrator Lance Roisum—the weight of six decades of Pelican Rapids history will, more or less, rest on his shoulders. 

The repair requires specialized plaster work, and it’s unclear who is available to bid on the project. Further complicating the process: Pelican Pete has been awarded the distinction of being a “historic landmark,” and its renovation will be under the scrutiny of s Minnesota state historic preservation agency. 

The good news: Lance Roisum has been in contact with Kate Woolever-Martinez, who is both a Pelican city park board member and a Pelican school art teacher. 

Martinez and Roisum are investigating a possible arts grant, through the Lake Region Arts Council, which may help fund part of the renovation cost.