The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 11, 2012

Rooftop martini glass shakes up city



Paul Vogel, Mankato community development director, isn’t calling the structure an eyesore. But he did call Baumann and tell him the lighted structure would have to come down because it is in violation of city code 10.87. Vogel said the city received a complaint from someone who was familiar with advertising rules.

The code defines advertising as pretty much any display that draws attention to a business and its purpose. It also forbids any roof signs.

“It’s a martini glass on top of a building that has a liquor establishment,” Vogel said.

The Christmas tree-shaped lights on the roofs of other downtown businesses are considered holiday displays, Vogel said. If Kopp would have made a different form out of his metal and lights, it might have passed as art. But, if someone would have filed a complaint, it would have been reviewed by city staff, Vogel said.

Baumann received an official letter Monday from the city that said he has 10 days to take the martini glass down. He said he’s considering options such as calling his City Council representative, but he doesn’t plan to spend too much energy fighting City Hall.

“We’re just trying to do something nice down here in Old Town and we’ve gotten nothing but compliments,” Baumann said. “If it’s got to come down, it will have to come down.

“Don made the whole thing. So I said let’s put it up there and see what happens. I didn’t know what to expect because it’s not a sign and it’s not attached to the building.”

Kopp said he isn’t looking forward to the job of getting his art work off the roof. He hasn’t made any plans for a new location, but he’s open to ideas.

“Maybe they want to put it on one of the North Mankato roofs,” he said. “I certainly can’t put it on my house or anything. I guess it will have to be disassembled and become a fond memory.”

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