As its creator looked on just a few feet away, Canton Township’s massive, crash-damaged sculpture was prepped Tuesday afternoon for its hour-long trip to a Blissfield repair shop.
The one-ton hunk of steel, which was damaged during a two-car crash at the intersection of Canton Center and Ford roads Sunday morning, was carefully secured to a flatbed truck, 13 years after it was mounted at the site.
Named the “Canton Community Arch” in a community-wide naming contest in 2006, the structure was made to resemble a plowshare, symbolic of the township’s agrarian history, said sculptor Ken Thompson, who was given the opportunity to create the piece in 2005.
In the wake of the crash, a car’s front end was demolished by the toppled piece of steel. The driver of the heavily-damaged vehicle walked away with just minor injuries.
“In the public-art contract I have with Canton, in cases like this, I have the right to refusal, so they need to call me to find out how to proceed,” revealed Thompson, who helped orchestrate the structure’s Tuesday-afternoon loading. “From the minute I heard about the accident, I very much intended to be involved in the repair process.”
Thompson said it was too early to determine how long it will take the sculpture to be repaired and returned to the site, and the cost of the repair.
Township Supervisor Pat Williams said the sculpture was insured. The township may also seek repair funds from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
“When I first saw the photo of the sculpture resting on the top of car on the (hometownlife.com) website, I thought the damage to the sculpture might be worse than it actually was,” said Thompson. “By looking at the photo, I thought, ‘Oh, man, it must be really messed up.’
“The way we built it, there’s a skin-like material over what is actually a pretty complex structure. The car tore the skin, but the structure was not damaged. We’re going to have to do some surgical work back at the shop.
“One part of the base was also heavily damaged. That will have to be replaced.”
Thompson assured residents that the site where the sculpture once stood is safe and secured.
“After it’s gone awhile, hopefully people will miss it and look forward to the day we have it fixed and back here where it belongs,” said Thompson, whose company has been commissioned to make over 70 large sculptures throughout the country.
Surprisingly, Canton’s arch is not the first Thompson sculpture that has been damaged in an automobile accident.
“We have a 37,000-pound sculpture in downtown Detroit that has been hit twice by cars, even though it’s not near a major road,” he said. “Nothing surprises me any more.”
Contact Ed Wright at email@example.com or 517-375-1113.
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