WESTFORD, VT. (CBS Local) — If you find yourself driving down Route 128 between Westford and Fairfax in northern Vermont, you can’t miss it.
Yes that’s right, you’re seeing a seven-foot-tall sculpture of a raised middle finger, carved from a 700-pound block of pine and perched atop a 16-foot pole. Oh, and it’s lit up by floodlights at night.
But the obscene gesture isn’t directed at drivers.
Ted Pelkey, who erected the provocative sculpture, says it stems from a long-running dispute with the town of Westford, CBS affiliate WCAX reports. Pelkey wants to build an 8,000-square-foot garage on his 11-acre property, but the town’s Development Review Board won’t give him a permit.
Pelkey says he wants to move his truck repair and monofilament recycling business from Swanton, where he says he’s running out of space. But he says Westford keeps putting up barriers and he believes members of the board have a personal grudge against him.
“We’ve been trying to put a business there for the past 10 years,” Pelkey told the Burlington Free Press. “It’s just never-ending. They’re railroading us really good.”
Pelkey spent $4,000 on the middle finger sculpture, which was carved in Vermont by an artisan he declined to name.
“It’s a low impact thing,” Pelkey said of his business. “We have such little traffic you’d wonder if we were open.”
Ironically, while Pelkey has been blocked from building his garage, the middle finger sculpture is considered public art, exempting it from both the state ban on billboards and Westford’s zoning regulations.