Menahga C&C suggests St. Urho branding on city water tower

Recognizing the uniqueness of St. Urho, the Menahga Civic and Commerce Association proposed a new design for the city water tower.

Brett Lakanen, a Minneapolis creative designer with ties to Menahga, drafted a possible design for the city's new water tower. The Menahga City Council approved it at its Monday, April 12 meeting.

Ralph Kumpula, representing the Menahga Civic & Commerce Association, recommended to the Menahga City Council that they put St. Urho on the water tower rather than “gateway to the pines.”

At the March 8 council meeting, Kumpalae noted that he found many more Google search hits connecting St. Urho with Menahga. He even found a book about roadside attractions that includes the Finnish statue.

“So I was wondering why Menahga doesn’t do more to market itself with St. Urho because it’s uniquely ours,” he said. “Also, currently, all 50 states recognize St. Urho Day as the day before St. Patrick’s Day.”

The Menahga C&C proposes a new water tower design that incorporates St. Urho, pines and Spirit Lake.

“St. Urho is a gem of a branding tool, I think, and it all starts with the most visible landmark in Menahga, which is the water tower,” he said.


Brett Lakanen, who is creative director of a Minneapolis advertising agency and Kumpala’s nephew, crafted a design. If selected by the council, Kumpala said Lakanen would gift his design to the city.

Council member Durwin Tomperi said a Louisiana governor traveling through Menahga in the early 1900s by train saw nothing but pine trees and said, “This must be the gateway to the pines.”

“So there’s a lot of historical reference and meaning to that name,” Tomperi said, wondering if the wording “gateway to the pines” could stay on the tower.

Kumpala said Lakanen could tweak the design, but cautioned against having too many words.

The council will discuss the matter further at their March work session.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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