By Louis Hoglund 


Renovating a giant pelican is a one-of-a-kind job. 

And it looks like Pelican Rapids found a firm with those one-of-a-kind skills. 

For $8,000, Fargo-based “Mothership Workshop” now has the distinction of giving “Pelican Pete” a facelift. The World’s Largest Pelican has shown signs of deterioration since it took its perch in 1957. 

The big bird was moved to an off-site location for safekeeping while the Pelican dam removal and river restoration project is completed.

Mothership has some unusual credentials, reported Lance Roisum, city administrator. They traveled all the way to Utah for a national ice sculpture contest. 

The bid is based mainly on exterior work, including high-quality exterior coatings. But if damage to the internal structural framework is uncovered, “those issues will need to be addressed separately from this initial proposal.” 

Councilman Steve Strand said he was concerned about the internal framework—including rust.

Work on Pelican Pete will begin when temperatures are within the range of about 50 degrees. Sanding, cleaning, and damage assessment will begin off-site—with the majority of repairs and preparation before he is moved back to his final resting spot, on the opposite side of the river. 

Once moved, finish work will be done at the new riverside platform. 

The contractor will coordinate with project managers to work around timelines and deadlines. 

Care will be taken to preserve the design, texture, and overall aesthetic of the piece as best as possible.

Repairing damaged areas, stabilizing the existing mortar, and cleaning and preparing the surface are among the tasks spelled out in the bid. 

The city council voted unanimously to accept the $8,000 bid, which requires a 50 percent up-front payment. 

While the vast majority of the dam removal and river restoration project will be reimbursed by the DNR, the Pelican Pete restoration is the city’s financial responsibility.