NORTH MANKATO — 'Godzilla' conquers nearly every enemy he faces. His list of defeated foes now includes right-of-way restrictions from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The North Mankato City Council formally approved moving the city's 'Godzilla' statue to the corner of Belgrade Avenue near Highway 169, just east of the Marigold Apartments, during a public meeting Monday night.
The council's resolution was necessary for MnDOT to proceed with turning over right-of-way land near the statue's proposed site back to the city, in essence clearing the way for 'Godzilla's' upcoming installation.
"We anticipate using him to welcome people in a variety of ways," North Mankato Mayor Mark Dehen said after the meeting.
'Godzilla' made his way to North Mankato last year as part of the 2015 CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. He won the People's Choice Award, and the city purchased him soon after to be an ambassador of sorts for North Mankato.
Workers removed 'Godzilla' from his previous perch on Belgrade last month, and he has taken up residence across the street from his future home while the city figured out right-of-way concerns with MnDOT officials. Another statue was moved to make way for the King of All Monsters.
Despite overwhelming support from a majority of residents, not everyone is a fan of the statue. Someone expressed displeasure with 'Godzilla's' role as the city's ambassador in a recent city-wide survey.
"NO NO NO Godzilla as 'Ambassador' (sic), for us - put it @ children's museum NOT HERE(sic)" one person wrote.
North Mankato resident Barb Church told the council on Monday she was fine with the statue but concerned its location would cause traffic issues.
"It seems dangerous to me," she said.
Council Member Kim Spears agreed. He asked city staff to consider moving the statue elsewhere or build a low fence near the statue to prevent children from wandering into the street.
City staff say 'Godzilla' will be installed at least 8 feet back from an existing sidewalk, which means it will be at least 14 feet away from the road.
Spears said the plan still didn't take potential accidents into account, however.
"We've never anticipated 3-year-olds falling in a gorilla pit, either," he said.
City Administrator John Harrenstein jokingly assured the council North Mankato staff would never shoot 'Godzilla.'
Dehen pointed out the statue's lightweight build — 'Godzilla' weighs in at about 500 pounds — means the city can move it around if necessary.
"If it is a problem, he is mobile," he told the council. "It's not permanent."
Still, the city expects to move 'Godzilla' as soon as MnDOT officials sign off on the right-of-way transfer, which means 'Godzilla' could be installed over the next few weeks.
Residents who still object to the statue may have trouble taking on the giant beast. Godzilla has only died four times in 30 movies over the past 60 years, including his first outing in 1954 thanks to an oxygen-destroying bomb and another time in 1995 when his radioactive heart gave out after a battle with the monster Destoroyah.