If you’ve ever had to deal with town officials for property improvements you will know that it can be a long, frustrating and expensive process.
It seems that one guy from Westford, Vermont had a more frustrating time than most. After a ten year fight to get a permit to build a garage with no success, Tom Pelkey decided to erect a statue on his front lawn in an act of revenge against local authorities.
Pelkey wanted to build a garage so he could move his truck repair and recycling business from the neighbouring town of Swanston to his own property, which meant he could stop paying rent at the current business location and cut out the daily 50 mile round trip.
Sounds like a good plan right?
Well, town officials didn’t agree, according to them Pelkey’s first application wasn’t detailed enough so he had to hire an engineer and a lawyer for the second attempt.
His second attempt was denied, and his third. Pelkey submitted numerous applications over a ten year period with no success at all. So one night he decided he’d had enough. Pelkey said:
‘I’ve been put through the ringer by these people, and it’s just not right. I was sitting at a bar and said to my wife, “Hey, I want to get a statue made of a middle finger, and I’m going to put it up on the lawn.”’
So Pelkey did what any perfectly rational person would do and commissioned a 16 foot tall 700 pound pine statue of a middle finger, lit up 24 hours a day and pointed in the direction of town officials office.
And there’s nothing authorities can do about it. The statue exercises Tom’s right to free speech, there’s no law against that. Pelkey’s statue actually falls into the category of public art which he said was ‘the most wonderful thing I’ve ever been told in my life.’
He also said:
It was critical to me to make sure that my neighbors and the people who live in this town understood that I didn’t put that up there for them. It is aimed directly at the people who sit in our town office.
I’m not trying to cause hate and animosity to the people who live in that town, because there’s very good people in that town. All the people are very good people. If you don’t want to look at the [garage], look at this.
Pelkey has no plans to take the statue down and hopes that some good will come from the way he has shed some light on his dispute.
Video: WKBW TV Buffalo, NY