PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. (KFGO) – Pelican Pete, the iconic 15.5-foot statue that was removed from his perch on the Mill Pond Dam earlier this year, is getting all shined up and will soon be standing tall on the Pelican River once again.
Pete was temporarily moved while crews work on the dam to construct a fish passage. The new fish passage is part of a river restoration project by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and will include a series of stepped-arch shaped rapids.
During his time away from his perch, Fargo-based Mothership Workshop will clean Pete and give him a fresh coat of paint.
Josh Zeis is one of the people working on the statue that was first set on the dam in 1957.
Zeis said there are signs of a long history on Pete, including a lot of flaking paint around his beak and body. He said there were some pieces barely hanging on around his neck, and they worked to reinforce that area.
“We spent a lot of time grinding and sanding all that down, and exposing a lot of cracks all over his body,” Zeis said. “We spent most of the day patching that and making sure he’s airtight before we end up painting him.”
Next up for Pete is a pressure wash and a move to his new perch on the south side of the river, directly across from where he stood before.
Zeis said they are waiting to paint Pete until after he is on his new perch. City of Pelican Rapids Administrator Lance Roisum said Pete should be moved in about two weeks.
“Once he’s set in place, we’ll come in and do final touch-ups in case there’s any extra damage that occurs from the transfer to the new location,” Zeis said. “Once we get all that patched up, we’ll paint him and he’ll be done.”
Along with the new paint job, Pete will have some work done to fix one of his legs and give him new feet. The damage on his leg is a large hole from corrosion. A welder has been contacted to fix the leg.
Roisum said the city will pay for Pete’s repairs. So far, those cost is $8,000 for the work Mothership Workshop is doing. The city is waiting for a bid on fixing Pete’s leg.
Roisum said the cost to move Pete to his temporary pad, being paid for by the DNR, was just over $74,000.