May 11, 2012
A few months ago, I poked fun at the folks at Copperhead Road Honkey Tonk and Saloon and their suggestion that junk cars, propped up on end, half-buried or hoisted on poles were art.
Sculpture, actually, was the word saloon owners used to describe the junk in their application for a variance to city land-use rules.
They were seeking permission to scatter more junk cars on their two-acre property on North Academy Boulevard near Carefree Circle and the Village Seven neighborhood.
Saloon owners portrayed the junk as museum-quality “Americana” honoring the working man. They even named an arch they built of three junk cars as “Colorado Redneck Stonehenge.”
Naturally, I mocked them.
This isn’t Texas, I reminded them, where red, white and blue armadillos are considered fine art. In Colorado Springs, we define art as cowboys reading newspapers! Wrecked cars are only considered sculpture in Pueblo! Or yard ornaments.
I also noted that neighbors were aghast at the plans.
It’s bad enough they have to live with its flashing neon palm trees, spotlights and tacky fiberglass cattle.
They worried how junk cars reflect on the neighborhood, already suffering from the closing of Penrose Community Hospital and other businesses.
The city agreed the junk cars do not qualify as art and ordered them removed.
I’m happy to report that Copperhead general manager Justin Carter tells me the cars will be down in “a day or two.”
In fact, Copperhead has abandoned its plans.
City planner Steve Tuck says the saloon withdrew its wild plans to satisfy neighbors and city regulations.
“They are going to keep their palm trees, but they will no longer flash,” Tuck said. “And they are removing all the spotlights on the roof. They are overlit.”
The flashing neon and spotlights were a sore spot with neighbors, especially residents of an apartment complex near the saloon.
In place of the stonehenge, Copperhead will be allowed to erect a 19-foot-tall fiberglass cowboy, holding a guitar. And the rooftop fiberglass bronco (with odd pink-painted genitalia) will be allowed to stay.
“We appreciate that they’ve been cooperative and helpful,” Tuck said. “They clearly understood the depth of the concern expressed by neighbors.”
Neighbor Donna Hamm was happy to hear of the changes. She lives across Academy in Village Seven.
“Those lights are awful,” Donna said. “And the cars make the neighborhood look horrible.”
She praised Copperhead and asked a favor.
“I commend them for making those changes,” she said. “But can they do something about the bronco on the roof? It’s disgusting the way they painted it.”
What’s more Americana than a fiberglass horse with disgusting private parts?