ST. ALBANS TOWN — St. Albans Bay Park has a new resident. “Champ,” the fabled lake monster, has found a spot by Lake Champlain in the park’s latest art installation.
“There have been a series of sightings throughout history. We thought [the project] would not only honor the history but it would be something unique to Vermont and the lake,” Jessica Frost, the town’s former parks committee chair, said.
Those looking for the leviathan will find him near the park’s western entrance close to the lake’s footpath undulating through the lawn.
The project began in April when an opportunity to apply for a Vermont Arts Council grant arose, Frost said.
Prior to the grant opening up, the parks committee was aware of the chainsaw sculptor Brandon Wilson and decided to apply for the funds to install a custom-made statue of Wilson’s work.
“When the Vermont Art Council put out the application, we thought this would be perfect,” she said.
The town received $10,800 from the Vermont Arts Council to fund the project.
While visitors can see Champ today, the town expects to add a few more pieces to round out the installation.
Near the custom benches that flank “Champ,” a podium displaying the Abenaki Land Acknowledgement will be installed alongside additional historical markers highlighting the historical aspects of “Champ” and St. Albans Bay.
“It’s just a fun way to honor the folklore,” Frost said. “The bay park has become a hub for the town, between the farmer’s market and the softball league, or people using the path. I’m sure people will take a picture next to ‘Champ.’ It adds to the character of the area.”
Once the ancillary pieces for the “Champ” statue are installed, the Town of St. Albans expects to hold a larger opening for the art piece.
Until then, town officials are encouraging residents to take a look at the sculpture and even take a ride on his back.
“It’s an educational and interactive piece,” Town Manager Carrie Johnson said. “Although it looks beautiful and fun, younger adults can climb all over it.”