The city of Brainerd will be making a bid for Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
The Brainerd City Council Monday approved the creation of a committee to look into funding sources to move the famous duo to the city.
Don McFarland, owner Paul Bunyan Amusement Center in Baxter where Paul Bunyan and Babe are located, has said he has a purchase agreement to sell the eight-acre amusement park site and he would give Paul and Babe to any Brainerd lakes area non-profit organization that had developed a solid plan for the pair and would pay to move the statues.
Brainerd is one of a few cities that is looking to adopt Paul and Babe.
The city of Pequot Lakes is forming a committee to develop a site plan for Paul and Babe if they were to make the city their home. And though no action has been taken the city of Baxter mentioned moving the pair to a spot on the northwest corner of the Highway 371 and Highway 210 intersection in Baxter.
Brainerd ouncil member Bob Olson suggested the formation of Brainerd's committee.
"I, as one citizen and elected official, think that the city should make an effort to contact Mr. McFarland," said Olson. "I feel strongly that we have to get Babe and big Paul. I've heard from a lot of citizens who've said they wished Babe and Paul were downtown."
Olson proposed the committee be made up of himself; Lisa Paxton, chief executive officer for the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce; Sheila Wasnie Haverkamp, executive director of the Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp.; Doug Grout, executive director of the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority; Walt Sjolund, superintendent of Brainerd Public Utilities; and Gary Otterstad, owner of Construction Analysis Management; as well as others who would like to be a part of the funding search.
Brainerd Mayor James Wallin told the council he has a meeting set today with McFarland to discuss Paul and Babe, and council President Jim Dehen asked Olson to attend the meeting on behalf of the city council.
"It's part of the heritage Brainerd has been known for," said Wallin. "It's imperative to keep it here."
"As the former voice of Paul Bunyan, I endorse your efforts to keep him here," said Brainerd City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick during the department head reports.
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