OTTERTAIL - The Ottertail otter statue may soon be on the move.
After 10 years at its "temporary" location just west of the Ottertail Home Center, a permanent home is being sought for the landmark critter.
Ottertail Lions Club members Jerry and Shirley Smith were present at the May 21 Ottertail City Council meeting to discuss the possibility of moving the otter statue. A decade ago, it was the Lions Club that raised funds for Vining artist Ken Nyberg to create the statue.
"When the Lions commissioned that otter to be built, we didn't know where to put it," Jerry Smith reported to the council. "The Lions Club has now set aside some money to move it and repair the statue, because it's starting to rust."
According to Smith, the original intent of the Lions Club was to place the otter on the hill between the southern highway entrance to Thumper Pond and the land currently occupied by the new 1st National Bank Building. One of the advantages of this site is that the otter would be visible from both Highway 78 and Highway108 in Ottertail.
However, a primary obstacle the Lions Club faces with moving the statue is the possibility that the desired site for the statue may be a Native American burial mound. The city of Ottertail has several burial mounds in the near vicinity, and there are strict regulations about what can be done on the mounds.
It was discussed at the council meeting that the statue would likely need to be placed at least 50 feet away from any burial mounds--which may rule out the original site chosen by the Lions Club. The possibility was also discussed that the selected hill site might actually be on private land.
Members of the city council expressed their support for the Lions Club's plan to repair the statue and determine a permanent location for the otter. However, no action can be taken until the Lions Club discovers who owns the property where they would like to place the otter and whether or not it is legal to set the otter there.
The city's "pet" otter is a 10-foot-high, 14-foot-long creation from 1,200 pieces of welded steel. Hidden inside the otter is a time capsule containing community information and photos.