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Banners will help beautify, promote Ottertail city

Fifty new flags will fly over Ottertail city streets this summer. The banner-style flags will help to beautify the city, bring more continuity to the streets, and make people feel welcome in Ottertail.

At a total cost of $5,183, the city approved the purchase of the flags and brackets at the March 11 council meeting. The flags will be placed along Highways 78 and 108 in the city, and possibly even in some residential areas.

The flags are navy blue, light blue, and white in color. They feature the image of an otter. One side will read "Welcome to Ottertail," with the other side saying, "Thanks for visiting, Come again!"

The plan is to position the flags on existing power poles. There is a possibility that the city will be able to work out an arrangement with Otter Tail Power--with the company often volunteering labor to help cities with this type of activity.

Ottertail City Councilman Terry Wagenman said that he's counted the number of poles in the city before--and arrived at a count of 99. With only 50 flags set for purchase, the city plans to scattered them throughout town, focusing on the most highly visible corridors. There's also the possibility that they may only put up some of the banners, leaving the rest as replacements.

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A goal has been set to have the flags up before Walleye Opener; they will then remain up year-round. The flags were made locally, with Perham Steel creating the brackets and JH Signs making the flags.

Councilman Don Patrick informed the council that the decision to put up flags around the city was formulated in a discussion between Patrick, Ottertail Mayor Raymond "Ole" Mounts, and members of the committee that put on the Ottertail citywide auction last summer.

The reason the committee members met with representatives from the council was to discuss what they would like proceeds from the auction to be used for.

Banner money tapped from community auction

Money designated from the city's "auction funds" was given to the Ottertail Business Persons Association several months ago, after a request was received for the city to financially support the annual Smokin' Iron Truck and Tractor Pull. Funds given by the city to the Business Persons Association totaled $6,666.

Representatives from the auction committee were in attendance at some previous council meetings, voicing concern about what the auction funds were appropriated towards. After clarifying a motion at the council's Feb. 18 meeting, the council approved that $5,000 be given to the Ottertail Business Persons Association from the auction funds received.

After the motion was restated and approved, Patrick suggested that representatives from the auction group get together and talk about what they had hoped to promote in the city and see how they could get it done. It was the idea of purchasing the flags, for just over $5,000, that the group brought before the council for approval March 11.