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Council Debates Future for Removed Confederate Statues

protest
Following daily racial justice protests, the City of Richmond removed its Confederate monuments. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Richmond City Council is trying to put together a process for deciding where the Confederate monuments removed last year should end up.

The city received requests for ownership from 22 groups and individuals, ranging from the U.S. Navy’s historic preservation arm to neo-Confederate activists. They’re asking for one or more of the 14 Confederate statues and iconography taken down last year. 

The decision to remove the monuments came after a summer of near-nightly protests for racial justice and against police brutality. Protesters toppled three Confederate statues and one of Christopher Columbus before the city decided to remove the rest, citing public safety concerns. 

Since then, City Council has made slow progress toward figuring out what to do with them. They have now established criteria to evaluate the requests, including whether the new owners can pay to move the statues out of storage. Government agencies and nonprofits will be given preference.

There’s still debate about whether Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration or City Council staff will select the final owners and negotiate a contract. Either way, the transfer will need final approval from the council, Planning Commission and Commission of Architectural Review, a process that’s likely to take months.

Richmond City Council is expected to make a final decision on the monuments' disposition process at its informal meeting on April 12