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Construction of 62-foot chicken underway in south Georgia

May 31, 2021 GMT

FITZGERALD, Ga. (AP) — A towering sculpture of a chicken that stands higher than the tallest dinosaur is taking shape in rural south Georgia.

The framed outline of the giant chicken — standing 62 feet (19 meters) tall — now towers above nearby homes in the city of Fitzgerald. The finished product will be a gargantuan topiary, meaning the chicken will be sculpted from living plants growing on its frame like a huge garden lattice.

Leaders Fitzgerald announced plans for the chicken sculpture in 2019 as a feature to bring tourists to the city of 9,000 people. Mayor Jim Puckett said the coronavirus pandemic caused some construction delays, and the Tennessee-based artist known as Topiary Joe needed some down time to recover from surgery.

But Puckett said he’s in no rush.

“This is not a model kit that you just snap together. No one’s ever built a 62-foot steel chicken before,” Puckett told WALB-TV.

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He added: “This is going to be fantastic when it’s finished.”

The Fitzgerald chicken will be taller than the famous Big Chicken in Marietta, which measures 56 feet (17 meters) tall. It will also edge the tallest known dinosaur, Sauroposeidon, which stood about 59 feet (18 meters).

City officials are paying for the multistory chicken with penny sales tax dollars that were earmarked for tourism projects.

The plans call for a room inside the base of the chicken that can be rented to visitors. The mayor says he’s heard from newlyweds interested in booking it for a honeymoon suite.