MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many different paintings — like the Prince symbol and the American flag — have graced the side of Barn Bluff in Red Wing over the years — but not for much longer.
It will soon return to a more natural look after council members voted unanimously to start enforcing the city’s graffiti ordinance on Monday.
Any remaining graffiti on the bluff will be covered with what they are calling “bluff-colored paint.”
Ward 3 City Council Member Becky Norton said the bluff holds special meaning for the Prairie Island Indian Community and the city as a whole.
“Red Wing is such a beautiful city. The parks, the bluffs, the bike trails are all just so beautiful for us. I think it will be a great fresh start for us,” Norton said.
She believes it is important to keep it the way nature intended it to be.
“A lot of people … I wouldn’t necessarily say they call it an eyesore, but have definitely been asking for it to be restored to its natural scenic state,” Norton said.
Bill Hanisch has painted the bluff himself.
“It is one of the last things we have that the locals are very proud of,” Hanisch said.
He says he understands the significance of the landmark, but does not see the paintings as a nuisance.
“I understand there is other graffiti up there and to me, that’s graffiti,” Hanisch said. “What’s been put in that spot has been people’s form of art work.”
Along with several others, he has started a petition that would put the issue on the ballot so the citizens of Red Wing could decide whether the colorful paintings should stay or go.
The city will begin enforcing this ordinance on November 15.