If you haven't seen him out and about yet, look for him at upcoming community events. We're talking about Rocky the Raccoon, the City's longtime mascot who got a major makeover this year. He was introduced to the community during the annual Fourth of July Celebration.
"We knew many months ago that we were going to reintroduce Rocky to the community with a splash and the Fourth of July seemed like a natural fit for that," said Jennifer Anderson, communications and marketing manager.
Since July, Rocky has popped up at various community events including a Summer in the City meeting, Night to Unite, the Coon Rapids Love My Pet Fair and Fire Department Open House.
"He's a new and fresh version but he's not a new idea," Anderson said.
Coon Rapids has used raccoons in its City logos dating back to the late 1960s. Their look may have changed over the years but not the fact that they were the inspiration for the City's name.
"It became important to the Council and City staff and to community volunteers that we celebrate the history of Coon Rapids and take ownership over our image and our story and the narrative of what Coon Rapids is all about," Anderson said.
The new Rocky went through several iterations before coming to life this summer following many rounds of feedback from City staff, council and community volunteers.
"You have to think about the ears, the shape, the fur, how furry or not furry is it, how big and bright or not are the eyes, should it have whiskers, should it not," Anderson said.
All that feedback led to this Rocky who has more than just fur to keep warm. He has different themed vests and even ice skates to represent the City well at events throughout the year.
"The kids love him, it's so cute to be at an event and see a little one just run up and hug his big furry legs or give him a high five," Anderson said. "That is what we want to create for an atmosphere here in the city and it's been really fun and rewarding to see that come to fruition."
Throughout the 1800s, there was an abundance of raccoons along the Mississippi River and a nearby creek. The raccoons inspired early settlers to start referring to the creek as Coon Creek which eventually became the basis for the City being named Coon Rapids decades later.