It could cost millions of dollars to remove and relocate Confederate monuments and statues standing in Dallas public parks. It remains unclear who will foot the bill for this undertaking, says Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.
Caraway believes removal, storage, and relocation costs could run at least $4 million total. On Monday, Caraway told KDFW that city staff initially projected $1.8 million for removal costs. From this estimate, $1.2 million covers taking down the Confederate War Memorial, a monument in downtown’s Pioneer Park. It displays the likenesses of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis plus generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston. Another $60o,000 unearths a stand-alone uptown statue of Lee, dedicated by Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.
The mayor pro tem pointed out that when looking at costs, there is a difference between a statue and a monument, the latter which requires cranes and excavation to remove, upping expenses. “Who’s going to take them down? Where are they going to go,” posed Caraway. “And most of all, who is going to pay for them?”
Caraway spoke on behalf of the city while Mayor Mike Rawlings was out of town, confirming these Confederate figures will come down. He assured Dallas residents that they will not “take a wrecking ball to them.” He said: “We’re not going to destroy history.”
Last week, Rawlings announced the formation of an appointed task force and two outside advisor groups that would meet for 90 days seeking solutions in this Confederate monument crisis. Breitbart Texas reported that, as part of a three month evaluation process, this committee would present a written report to the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs. In turn, they would share the findings with the city council, call for public comments, and get recommendations from the Quality of Life Committee before rendering a final decision on the structures’ fates.
Rawlings called the historical statues “dangerous totems” and “monuments of propaganda” but insisted he would remove them in a way that united the people of Dallas versus divided them, however, he since sped up the entire process. Breitbart Texas reported Rawlings outlined a shorter timeline which he justified based on the “urgency of the matter.” In a memo Friday, he revised the plan, moving public input onto the November 1 city council meeting agenda and listing November 8 for “city council action.” Subsequently, Caraway declared the 121-year-old Confederate War Memorial would be “down before Christmas.”
This week, the increased sense of urgency to take down the Confederate monuments kicked the entire process into warp speed. Caraway anticipates the 14-member Dallas City Council will vote to remove the monuments on September 27 and the task force will offer their recommendations as early as October 3.
On Friday night, vandals spray painted “Nazis” on the Lee statue in uptown Dallas. Police since increased patrols in Lee Park to prevent further attacks. The city also added officers to protect the Confederate War Memorial. This was the site where anti-Confederate protesters and activists demanded officials take down the monuments quickly at Saturday’s “Dallas Against White Supremacy” rally in response to a violent Charlottesville, Virginia, protest.
Rawlings addressed the vandalism on Facebook before the rally. He also posted: “The Mayor’s Task Force on Confederate Monuments will be ready with a recommendation by early October.”
Late Saturday night, he posted again, thanking protesters for a “peaceful rally.” He stated: “Our city listened to those that spoke and we will continue to listen to one another. We will take these statues down and do it soon.”
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