La Vista dinosaur

The new Sinclair dino, donated by the company, gets a ride Saturday, May 26, in La Vista's annual Salute to Summer parade.

La Vista’s newest resident is looking for a home where he can meet lots of people — and the city’s mayor might have found the perfect spot.

Dino the dinosaur will probably take up residence in La Vista’s $235 million City Centre redevelopment, said Mayor Doug Kindig.

He said Dino might make a home in a new park that will be adjacent to the redevelopment or in another area of the project, which will include apartments and space for offices, stores and restaurants.

“I think (he) would be one of the attractions,’’ Kindig said.

The city unveiled the new Dino during last month’s La Vista Salute to Summer parade.

The new Dino replaces the beloved one that sat for decades at a former Sinclair gas station near 84th Street and Park View Boulevard but was taken apart in March.

The big green guy served as a landmark and city mascot, and there was an outcry in La Vista when he was suddenly gone.

Chris Gonzalez, a regional manager of Sinclair Oil, said that Dino is a Sinclair trademark and that because the station was no longer associated with the company, he had to say goodbye.

Within days, Gonzalez was on the phone with Kindig, explaining why Dino was gone and remarking about the numerous calls and emails the company had received from La Vista residents expressing their love for Dino. Kindig explained to the Sinclair manager how much the dinosaur meant to the community.

So Gonzalez said the company would donate a new Dino to La Vista.

Kindig said the city is grateful to Sinclair for providing Dino as a gift.

Gonzalez said the new dinosaur didn’t come from another Sinclair station, but is brand-new.

“He’s a baby,’’ Gonzalez said.

He may be a baby, but at 9 feet long and about 6 feet tall, he’s the size of the other fiberglass Dino and ones at stations across the country.

Kindig said it would probably be next year before Dino would make a move to the City Centre redevelopment, which is underway at 84th Street and Brentwood Drive.

He’s living temporarily in a La Vista public works garage but will be making appearances at community events this summer.

Kindig said the new Dino is just as friendly as the old one.

So if you see him, Kindig said, say hi, grab a selfie and welcome him to town.

oconnor@owh.com, 402-444-1122

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