A lifetime after Bob Dylan burst onto the scene as America's foremost musical prophet, and three years after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, his hometown of Hibbing, Minn., still doesn't have a public monument honoring its most famous native son.
A community group has been hoping to change that. But more than two years into the effort, the Hibbing Dylan Project and the Hibbing school board have yet to agree on the plan for a monument the group hopes to erect on the grounds of Hibbing High School, from which Dylan graduated in 1959.
"I don't know why it hasn't been done," said Katie Fredeen, a Dylan Project organizer. "But it needs to be done and it's going to be done."
The group got approval from the school board in 2017 to place a monument on the high school campus. But some obstacles have surfaced, prompting the board to reconsider.
First there were concerns about whether the installation would block a fire lane. So its planned location was moved. Some board members also want to be sure that the school district wouldn't be on the hook for maintenance costs, such as repairing brick or metalwork.
And because the grand 1920s high school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there have been hoops to jump through with preservation authorities.
Still, School Board Member Kathy Nyberg is enthusiastic about the idea for a monument.
"I'm completely for it," she said. "It's a great nod to our artsy kids. We do a lot for our kids who are into sports.
"And how many high schools have a Nobel Prize winner?" she added. "I think it's amazing."
But the school board has engaged in a couple of intense discussions about the project at recent meetings. Some board members think the monument might be a better fit in a city park rather than at the school. And there are concerns about cost, even though the money will be privately raised.
"The district isn't interested in spending funds for it," Nyberg said. "We've had long discussions about, 'Do we have the money to buy books?' "
John Berklich, the school board chairman, said the district is waiting for legal advice on whether the monument can be placed on the campus, because of the school's historic status.
He also said the board is hesitant to act until all the funding is in place. The Dylan Project is hoping to raise about $150,000 for the monument and has about half that amount pledged, Fredeen said.
But Berklich agrees that Dylan should be honored by Hibbing in some way.
"Anybody who receives a Nobel Prize should have some kind of recognition," he said.
The board plans to vote at its Oct. 9 meeting on whether to rescind its permission for placing the monument at the school. The Dylan Project organizers strongly believe it should be at the school, Fredeen said.
"It only seems fitting as a tribute to the level of education he received in that building that it be on the school grounds," she said. "It's for the students. It's to remind them that they can be from Northeast Minnesota and still achieve."
In his Nobel lecture, Dylan praised the education he received in Hibbing, which was a K-12 school during the years he attended.
"I had the principles and sensibilities and an informed view of the world," Dylan told the Swedish Academy. "And I had had that for awhile. Learned it all in grammar school." Dylan's family also has expressed a wish that any monument be placed at the school, Fredeen said.
The school sits on Bob Dylan Drive, which leads to his childhood home a few blocks away, lending even more appeal to the school as a place for the monument, she added.
Fredeen said she's optimistic that everything can be worked out. A number of donors are "very interested and committed," she said, and they're waiting for some finality before making their pledges.
"We just have to continue this dialogue and we'll figure it out," she said.