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It's-a-me, a Mario hydrant! Minnesota city gets creative with fireplugs

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Batman is now watching over the streets of Milaca, Minnesota.

Well, watching over might be a stretch. He's a little shorter than you'd probably expect, not much more than the height of a toddler. He's not very mobile either; kind of has cement bricks for feet.

Batman is a fire hydrant.

But he's there. And so is Super Mario. Plus Tigger from "Winnie the Pooh."

"It’s just part of the beautification of the city," Milaca Mayor Pete Pederson tells BringMeTheNews.

Yes, Pederson along with the local VFW are teaming up to make hydrants in the central Minnesota city of not-quite 3,000 people available for public art purposes.

"It's not a moneymaker, nothing like that," Pederson says. "Just cleaning up the city."

Imgur user micahorsotti uploaded photos of a few, and the Milaca Area Chamber of Commerce posted some to their Facebook page.

The beautification effort, as Pederson calls it, is a volunteer effort. Anyone interested in designing and painting a fire hydrant can contact the city manager or mayor (he's expecting a few more calls Wednesday, he says) and pitch their idea.

The city and local VFW wash the hydrants and prep them for painting. All the volunteer has to do is buy the paint they need, and they're good to go.

Pederson and a few other locals saw similar projects when traveling, and said they wanted to get their own city going.

"Like you say, catch the eyes of people," Pederson explains, "and [they] say, 'Hey that’s an interesting story.'"

There are a few rules: No advertisements, nothing offensive, and no religious themes. They haven't had to turn anything down yet, Pederson says. Other than that, it's up to the artist to get creative.

The dalmatian (seen at right) was the first one completed, and it was done about 10 days ago. After the dalmatian went up, "then it started rolling," Pederson says.

Since then, another eight or nine have been finished, such as a minion from the "Despicable Me" series.

Pederson says another two or three are in the process of being painted, with another handful pitched (including some "patriotic" ones, as he described it) – plus more expected.

"They hadn't been painted for about 20 years and needed to be painted," he says.

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