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Cost of fixing Hiawatha could run as high as $60,000



The latest report on the condition of Hiawatha — the Native American-like statue in La Crosse’s Riverside Park — is not so good. 

City leaders estimate that fixing cracks in the large concrete statue could cost up to $60,000. 

The last time Hiawatha was repaired, nearly 20 years ago, the price tag was around $35,000. 

As for removing the large statue from the riverfront, park director Jay Odegaard admits that would be a tough job.

“This isn’t a couch that somebody needs to put in their living room,” Odegaard told the city park board Thursday night. “It’s a significantly large piece.”

Hiawatha was included in a report on artworks in La Crosse parks, which might need repair, such as sculptures in Myrick Park and Burns Park.    

People in the community have talked for years about removing Hiawatha from the park, partly because it’s viewed as a Native American stereotype. 

The family of statue sculptor Anthony Zimmerhakl offered to put it on property in southern Minnesota.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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