Memorial to gonzo may need a permit |

Memorial to gonzo may need a permit

Plans to erect a 150-foot-tall, double-thumbed fist in Woody Creek to honor Hunter S. Thompson will require a permit from Pitkin County if it is intended to be a permanent monument.And if a gargantuan public party does occur, Lance Clark of the Pitkin County Community Development Department said a special-use permit will need to be obtained from the county. Additionally, details such as where people are supposed to park, and possibly camp, will need to be addressed.Actor Johnny Depp apparently helped design the memorial structure and has offered to donate as much as $4 million to see it come into fruition, said Michael Cleverly. The longtime Woody Creek resident was one of Thompson’s closest friends.”It’s quite a deal – it could be the tallest thing between Denver and Salt Lake City,” said Cleverly, who writes a column for The Aspen Times.While there have been rumors that the monument would be erected in August to coincide with a massive public celebration of Thompson’s life, Cleverly said he was unaware of any solid deal.He said that Thompson’s widow, Anita, who has been spearheading the celebration, was out of town. He added that they would meet sometime this week to further discuss the plans.”Things do flux quite a bit,” Cleverly said.Plans are reportedly in the works to blow Thompson’s remains into the air from the towering structure in August.The legendary gonzo journalist killed himself in his home on Feb. 20.”I really don’t know what’s planned,” said Michael Owsley, Thompson’s friend and a Pitkin County commissioner.As for holding a gathering that could attract thousands of people to the notoriously anti-growth, anti-mainstream locale of Woody Creek, Cleverly said it would only work for someone like Thompson.”That’s the only way that the neighborhood would take such a thing,” he said. “Hunter was a really good neighbor. The neighbors were always invited [to his parties] even if you weren’t a crony. Whether he was their cup of tea, people liked him.”I would say a [large gathering] would have a far better chance of being tolerated in this neighborhood than in any other neighborhood.”Both Cleverly and Owsley agree that a large party is needed for a figure such as Thompson.”Hunter is worth remembering,” Owsley said. “It’s been very hard for people in Woody Creek. Just having him here even though you weren’t up at his house meant a lot. Not having him around is hard for people to deal with.”So I think if you have this kind of [celebration], in some way it will help people heal.”Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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