By: liz tufts
A battle is brewing in North Attleboro over a man–made pirate ship. It's anchored in a local pond. The town says it needs to go, but the man who built it refuses to remove it.
When Steven Bankert talks about this pirate ship anchored outside his home in Falls pond, it's hard not to feel his excitement. "It's something for kids and adults to have fun on, " says Steven Bankert.
The idea came about this July, after his grand kids asked him to build something in the water they could play on. But once his creation became a reality, the complaints started flooding in. "The commission had the environmental police come here to take a look at it, " says Bankert.
The town's Conservation Commission is responsible for all activity on falls pond. They say each resident living along the water is allowed to have one dock in the pond. They say the ship equals to having two. "We have rules and regulations in place that everybody else seems to comply with on the pond expect for Mr. Bankert. He doesn't believe those rules apply to him, he doesn't believe those rules exist, " says Vice Chairman David Scanlan.
That's because Bankert says this ship isn't a dock. "It's a boat, it floats it matches all the criteria in Massachusetts for a boat, " says Bankert.
The battle over this pirate ship has now prompted public meetings in town. Many saying it's an eyesore..and a safety hazard. Bankert says the town is just trying to sink his ship, but he's not going down without a fight. "There are way more issues in the world and the town than about this boat and the fact I want something for my grandchildren to play on, " adds Bankert.
The town wants the ship out of the water now, but Bankert says it will stay there until the end of October. That's when the town starts lowering the levels of the pond for the winter. But Bankert says it will be back in the water by the Spring. The town in now getting a lawyer.