Prehistoric prank becomes parks and rec's symbol

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Leaping lizards! Stanley keeps watch over the city's parks and recreation building.

Who is that purple dinosaur on the roof of the parks and recreation, and where did it come from?

Well, it was supposed to be a prank, but now it seems the Mountain Home Parks and Recreation Department has adopted a new mascot of sorts.

But the crew is taking it all in stride.

Several days ago, parks and recreation director Stan Franks decided that one of the department's storage areas needed a thorough cleaning. As he made his way through the clutter, Franks discovered a fiberglass dinosaur standing in a far corner.

The department had inherited the brontosaurs -- actually, the correct name is apatosaurus -- a few years back. It was included along with additional equipment it received from the former owner of a miniature golf course and driving range near the city airport.

The dinosaur used to serve as a landmark leading into the golf complex on Airbase Road.

Freeing it from its cramped quarters in the storage area, Franks asked his crew to give the dino a needed cleaning. They then asked Franks what they should do with it when they were finished.

Off the cuff, the parks and recreation director said they should stick it on their roof.

And so they did.

While their boss was out to lunch, Larry Cronin and Randy McGrath loaded the Jurassic Era critter on a forklift and hoisted it on the roof.

They had the mauve-colored statue in place and fixed to the department's rooftop before their boss returned from lunch. It was something that Franks never expected to see when he drove into the parking lot.

"It's something that really sticks out," Franks said before he laughed.

"Actually, it was supposed to be a gag. We wanted to see how long it would take for people to notice it," said Deb Brito from the parks and recreation department.

For now, the parks and recreation staff plans to keep their landmark on the building's roof. Originally, they planned to fix it to the roof at the discovery center by Richard Aguirre Park, but concerns were raised on ensuring that it would stay in place against the Idaho wind.

Franks took the building's newest addition in stride. In fact, it'll make it a lot easier for people to find their building -- just turn onto South 5th West Street and keep going until they see the purple dinosaur.

In the spirit of the season, the parks and recreation crew gave their mascot a Santa hat and were seriously considering adding a wreath around its neck. They also agreed that it needs a new coat of paint.

And his name is Stanley.

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