The newest Babe statue will soon be placed in downtown Brainerd, but it won’t be blue.
Babe the Waabigwan Ox is set to reside on the corner of South Eighth and Laurel streets near the Pit Stop in the next couple weeks.
Brainerd City Council members gave their approval Tuesday, Sept. 7, for a plaque to be placed by the statue, explaining the background behind the ox’s bright, floral decoration and the sponsors who made the sculpture possible.
Back in March, Nor-Son Construction donated the ox — which had been the Baxter construction office since 2008 — to the city of Brainerd. The Crossing Arts Alliance, along with the Destination Downtown Business Coalition then put out a call for artists to submit proposals for a design to be painted on the ox.
The Ojibwe-inspired design by Brainerd teen Aiyana Beaulieu was chosen out of nine submissions. Beaulieu’s design, which includes a black ox with many multi-colored flowers, is inspired by Ojibwe beadwork and is meant to touch on the history and culture of Brainerd’s Indigenous people. “Waabigwan” is the Ojibwe word for flower.
The painting is now complete, and the statue is now being sealcoated and will soon be installed along with the plaque.
“It really turned out great,” Brenda Billman-Arndt, chair of the Destination Downtown Business Coalition, told the council Tuesday. “We’re really lucky to have such young, talented artists in our community that want to contribute to our town.”
In other business Monday, the council:
Authorized the retirement of police K-9 Keno and allowed Sgt. Paul Dooley, an experienced K-9 handler, to purchase him for $1.
Approved a lawful gambling application from St. Andrew’s Church to conduct bingo Nov. 20 at the church.
Approved a lawful gambling application from the Brainerd Jaycees for an event Sept. 18 at the intersection of East River Road and Laurel Street.
Approved an event/street closure application for the Brainerd Fire Department’s annual open house set for 5-7 p.m. Oct. 7 on East River Road.
Approved an event/street closure application for the Early Childhood Family Education and city of Brainerd’s annual touch-a-truck event, which allows children to see emergency service vehicles up close, set for 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 9 in downtown Brainerd. Street closures will happen on Laurel Street between South Sixth and Eighth streets, and on South Seventh Street between Front and Maple streets.
Approved an event/street closure application for the inaugural Flapjack Festival set for 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 26 on Front Street.
Approved an event/street closure application for the Here for Good Market set for 1-8 p.m. Sept. 21 in downtown Brainerd. The original recurring application for the event ended Aug. 31.
Approved an event/street closure application for a Spooktacular event hosted by the Destination Downtown Business Coalition set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 30 on South Seventh Street.
Accepted the resignation of Community Service Officer Andrew Thielke, who is going to college this fall, effective Aug. 12, and authorized the department to hire a replacement.
Authorized the hiring of Nick Karsnia as a community officer, effective Aug. 21, at a wage of $14 an hour.
Authorized the hiring of Alexander Korte as police records management technician, effective Sept. 15, at a wage of $24.38 an hour.
Approved the 2022 Sourcewell health insurance rates for employees with an average 3.7% increase in cost.
Authorized switching vision insurance plans for 2022 from Avesis to the pooled VSP plan offered through the Minnesota Healthcare Consortium, which has a stronger network in the area.
Approved the final pay application for the 2021 large patch project throughout the city at a cost of $48,937.50. The city budgeted $50,000 for the project.
Vacated a portion of Southwest Seventh Street south of Ethel Street. This portion of roadway was never constructed to city standards and sits as a vacant public right of way. Therefore, staff sees no reason to maintain the small portion of street. No one spoke at the public hearing for the vacation.
Reappointed Marie Kirsch to the Economic Development Authority.