Council toys with state title sign idea


by Rachel Minske
Contributing Writer
The city is full of pride following the Elk River High School football team’s State 5A championship in 2016 – so much so that members of the Elk River City Council are considering erecting a sign to celebrate the state title.
“As you’ve probably seen in your travels, a lot of cities have some sort of signage when you come into town,” said Mayor John Dietz. “I would like us to explore doing something like that for Elk River High School.”
Dietz has publicly supported the football team for some time.
In December, the Elk River City Council proclaimed Dec. 20, 2016 as “Elk River High School Football Team 125 Day,” in honor of the team’s state title. The team finished its season last year with a 13-0 record.
Dietz, a graduate of Elk River High School, has referred to the players as the “most dominant Elk River team in the history of the school.”
“What you’ve done is truly outstanding,” he said to the team, which was in attendance of a city council meeting Dec. 19 alongside Coach Steve Hamilton. Each player was presented with a pin from the city and Hamilton received a plaque in honor of the team’s success.
“You have brought tremendous pride to your community.”
Dietz said he believes the best place for the sign, which would honor the team’s title and other state titles achieved by the school, would be at the intersection of Highways 169 and 10 as it’s the most visible. He added that wherever the sign is placed, it must be outside the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s right-of-way.
The mayor said the sign would likely be red, back and white and would detail team champions with which sport the title was awarded with the accompanying year.
“It shows Elk River is proud and we support them,” said Council Member Jennifer Wagner of erecting a sign. However, the council member said she wondered about whether individual sports would also be recognized.
City Administrator Cal Portner said there may be other sanctioned activities from the Minnesota State High School League that have won state titles that aren’t athletic-related, including culinary and business organizations.
“I don’t have any problem putting those on there, they’re sanctioned high school activities,” Dietz said.
Council members questioned how to pay for such a sign – the city, the school district or another organization like a booster club, for example – and how to divvy up maintenance duties.
“Should we as a city be paying for this or should we ask the school district to help?” Dietz asked of council members and city staff.
Portner said it could be best if the city maintained its “own destiny,” with this project.
City staff is expected to complete research on how to make constructing a sign possible and will return to the council soon with some answers.