ST. LOUIS • Confederate Drive in Forest Park is no more.
Just months after dismantling a controversial monument to the Confederacy in the park, the city has torn up the paved loop along the grassy area where the memorial once stood.
Workers began plowing over the street on Monday, a day when most of the city was preoccupied with eclipse fanfare.
Koran Addo, a spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, said the tearing up of Confederate Drive was part of a longstanding Forest Park master plan and would have happened regardless of the monument controversy. It will soon be planted over, he said.
“It was always the plan to put in a green space,” he said.
That renders moot a portion of a bill considered by the Board of Aldermen this summer, which would have renamed Confederate Drive to Scott Joplin Drive, in honor of the famed ragtime composer. The proposal was discussed by a committee in June, amid the debate over whether or not to tear down the Confederate Monument.
The contentious structure in St. Louis is now gone, with little expense to taxpayers. But similar debates continue to play out throughout the country, as city and state officials call for the removal of monuments or tributes to the Confederacy.
In Virginia, a protest of the city of Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park culminated in a white supremacist protester’s allegedly ramming his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.
Those who support the removal of such structures have argued they are painful reminders of racism that belong in museums, not public parks. Critics contend that taking them down amounts to erasing history.
After weeks of uncertainty and a settled lawsuit against the city, the Confederate memorial that once stood in Forest Park now sits in storage until the Missouri Civil War Museum can find a permanent location for it in a different museum, battlefield or cemetery.
Per a legal agreement with the city of St. Louis, the monument cannot be erected anywhere else in the city or St. Louis County.