Not necessarily opposed to the idea, but concerned that taxpayer dollars could be better spent, the Dakota City Council delayed action on approving any city funds to go toward painting a “Freedom Rock” in Humboldt County.
The matter was brought before the council by local VFW Commander Dave Lee. Lee had spoken to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors earlier this month about the matter. Lee said that Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, the painter of the Freedom Rock in Adair County, would like to paint a rock in each of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties, to honor veterans.
Dakota City Mayor Don Faltinson said the $5,000 Sorensen plans to charge, with the addition of travel expenses, lodging and food—could be a total cost of $6,500 or more, and could be an incurred cost every four to six years, given the expected lifespan of the paint used for the mural.
“Ninety-eight counties times $5,000 is $490,000. That’s money I feel should go to the vets and not that person (the artist, Sorensen),” the Dakota City mayor said.
“It’s a tribute to the veterans. To me, what he makes off it doesn’t make any difference. He’s contributing to the veterans by doing the work. Between the two of us, the local VFW and the American Legion posts, we will maintain the thing,” Lee said.
“I’d like to see a bigger monument at the courthouse. For years, we’ve been trying to get something, and this is a starting point,” Lee said.
Council members Barb Nelson and Billy Fort tended to agree with Faltinson’s assessment. The council agreed to table any final action on the matter until its March 13 meeting.