The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 13, 2012

Ojanpa: Martini, let thy name be Art


But a funny thing has happened on that martini’s road to demise. People love the way it looks, love the way it invitingly beckons people to a historic, quaint part of the downtown retail district that for decades has struggled to do just that.

By and by, people badgered Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel about it because Vogel is the city’s front man on such matters as martini-glass-in-sky code violations.

“I’m accused of being a sign Nazi,” Vogel said Friday. “But I’m not a sign Nazi; I’m an art nurturer.”

So here’s the deal: Vogel, in the interest of finding a popular, code-friendly solution — and shedding his Gestapo label — is suggesting that rooftop creations of this ilk might become some type of art initiative in the core downtown, a la the popular annual CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour.

Eric Harriman, coordinator of City Center Partnership that works to attract people to the community through various projects and programs, thinks the idea has merit provided it’s properly vetted.

Baumann said he and other business owners are bullish about the idea of similar lighted creations adorning rooftops and, more pertinently, creating more traffic and interest in the area.

Everyone else is wearing out this pun so I may as well too: That be-strawed martini glass has created quite a stir.


Brian Ojanpa is a Free Press staff writer. Call him at 344-6316 or email

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