Some lucky business, community or entity involved with the poultry industry could have a golden opportunity in front of them.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a nearly 65-foot-tall chicken structure to show that you’re loud and proud when it comes to poultry?
In what has to be by far the most amusing Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article I have ever read, I learned that in the community of Fitzgerald, Georgia, there sits the framework of said structure, which was intended to be eventually a topiary, that was actually also to have an apartment inside.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues involving the topiary’s creator, Joe Kyte, the intended topiary is unfinished, and to many, an eyesore. I wish I had rights to publish the photos of it, but the best I could do was take a screenshot from a Chicken Cam YouTube video linked to from the city’s website. That view is obscured by a tree, but you get the gist. Still, I’d advise you check it out on the WSJ website for a better view.
The gigantic chicken structure was the brainchild of outgoing Mayor Jim Puckett. And the reason he is the outgoing mayor is apparently because of people’s displeasure of the chicken, how much it is costing taxpayers, and how he went about the whole process. According to the article, Puckett only gathered 69 votes during the November 2 election, which amounted to about 5% of the votes cast in the city of about 9,000 residents.
Roughly $300,000 in funds from sales tax revenues intended to promoting tourism in Fitzgerald were funneled to the chicken structure. That clearly didn’t please the citizens of this community.
Puckett, a local diner owner, saw the chicken as a way to promote tourism to Fitzgerald. The community is known for its South Asian jungle fowl that roam the city, following a state decision to bring those birds to a nearby forest for the purpose of game hunting. Many of those birds made their way to town, where the species remains today.
The city council, according to the report, has voted to table all spending regarding the chicken structure until the mayor-elect, Jason Holt, takes office in January. Holt said he intends to have the public and the council work with him to figure out what to do with the chicken.
What to do?
So as Holt waits to take office, we wait to see what will happen to the chicken.
Because of the expense of completing it, the liabilities the structure and the apartment within might present, and the already existing animosity toward the structure, it doesn’t seem likely to have much of a future in Fitzgerald.
But it could have a future elsewhere, and perhaps not that far away. Think about it: Georgia is the country's largest state in terms of poultry production.
This whole thing reminds me of a saga in McPherson, Kansas, that took place about 20 years ago. The local Happy Chef restaurant, which was part of a small chain, closed. In front of that restaurant was a giant statue of the Happy Chef mascot. But part of Happy Chef’s company policy was not to have the statues on properties where there is not a restaurant. But the folks of McPherson loved the statue and didn’t want to see it go.
So a local chimney sweep, who had a billboard along the highway outside of town, bought the statue and had it retrofitted to look like an old-fashioned chimney sweep. People were happy, and that chimney sweep still stands there looking as regal as ever.
It’s a different situation, as this chicken doesn’t appear to have the local appeal that the chef did, but someone could put their own touch on it, make it their own, and give it the appreciation it deserves. If that sounds appealing to you, you might want to look up Mayor-elect Holt.