Town to start seeking community’s funding help

In an effort to offset costs for a “big chair” at Pither’s Point Park, and a mermaid sculpture and new trees along the La Verendrye Parkway, the town will give residents a chance to get involved in enhancing the community.
“We’ll do a marketing program with the community. Do mail-outs to the service clubs,” said CAO Bill Naturkach, who noted the idea to ask the public came up during 2003 budget discussions.
This marketing will begin soon as council gave the recommendation a thumbs up during its regular meeting Monday night.
A new big chair at Pither’s Point—a topic of several requests from the public and a recommendation from the economic development advisory committee earlier this year—would cost about $3,000.
The idea for the mermaid statue came out of the exhibit at the museum this past summer commemorating the Rainy Lake landmark’s 70th anniversary.
This would cost about $8,000 and be installed along the La Verendrye Parkway.
This would a great photo site for tourists and a conversation piece for locals, said Naturkach.
Meanwhile, the trees to be planted along Phase I of the parkway will replace ones that have been vandalized or otherwise damaged over the years.
These 15 trees would be planted from the Sorting Gap Marina to the overpass, and cost $6,000 in total.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon asked Naturkach that if residents offered to buy a tree in memory of someone, could they get a plaque or some other recognition for doing so, to which Naturkach replied, “Yes.”
Meanwhile, council wasn’t so certain about possibly erecting a bass statue, as suggested by Coun. Neil Kabel on behalf of a citizen, at council’s Nov. 11 meeting.
Given that just minutes before, council agreed to look into getting community funding for a mermaid for the waterfront, Naturkach said a bass statue might make the waterfront “a little busy in that regard.”
“Aside from the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, which we fully support, we have places like Kabetogama, Baudette, and Kenora ‘flagging their fish,’” said Mayor Witherspoon.
“Maybe we should try something different.”
“Scale back,” quipped Coun. Struchan Gilson.
But Coun. Kabel noted the matter of the bass statue, which would not necessarily be erected on the La Verendrye Parkway, hasn’t been discussed enough as no committees have formally examined it yet.
“I’d like to see a committee consensus on this,” he remarked. “Maybe they can look at doing both [the bass and the mermaid].”
While council did have the option to refer the bass statue to the 2003 budget process, or decline it all together, it ultimately was agreed the matter would be referred to both the Community Services executive committee and “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” for a recommendation.