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Mayor thinks North St. Paul's giant snowman is due for a checkup

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He wears a 16-foot smile on his face. But a peek at his own insides might be enough to wipe it right off.

North St. Paul's landmark snowman is 40 years old and the city's mayor tells the East Side Review the big guy might be due for a checkup.

Mayor Mike Kuehn tells the newspaper he got a look inside the 44-foot-tall snowman a few years back. Kuehn says he saw enough rust to make him worried about the snowman keeling over some day. He's now asked the Parks and Recreation Commission to have a professional assessment done, the Review reports.

North St. Paul's website provides a history of the city's famous icon. It seems that back in the old days building big snowmen was a tradition associated with the Snow-Daze festival. But after a few years of lean snowfalls, a civic-minded business leader named Lloyd Koesling (inspired by a trip to Disneyland, the Review says) suggested a giant year-round snowman made out of stucco.

The snowman was incorporated into the city's logo even before he was finished in 1974. He moved from a downtown location to a high-profile site on State Highway 36 in 1990. "Turn at the snowman" was what they said in the pre-GPS days.

Believed to be the world's largest stucco snowman, the happy guy in the top hat has built a following among sightseers. He's featured on his own page at websites including Roadside America and Highway Highlights, for example.

And in all those years he's never been in the shop for repairs. The East Side Review explains that – apart from his move – the most attention the snowman has received came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

In 2007 MnDOT was concerned that a construction project on the highway would cause the soil to shift under the snowman's 20-ton girth. So the department spent $20,000 to stabilize the ground he stands on.

A Parks and Rec official tells the Review that "snowman evaluation" is now on the commission's to-do list. But it's a pretty long list and nothing is imminent.

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