ST. LOUIS • Mayor Lyda Krewson said Friday that she expected the planned removal of the Confederate Memorial from Forest Park to be funded at least partly with public money.
“My commitment on the Confederate Memorial is that it needs to come down, and we are figuring out the steps and the details for how that happens,” Krewson told reporters in her City Hall office. “It’s expensive. I think it will be a public-private combination of funding to get that done.”
Some activists say the 103-year-old monument symbolically supports white supremacy and should be moved out of the city park; others say it’s a work of art and a recognition of a major event in American history and should remain.
The controversy — an offshoot of a national debate over Confederate monuments around the country — has spawned dueling protests in Forest Park recently and multiple instances of defacement of the monument with anti-Confederate graffiti. At least one fundraising effort is underway, by city Treasurer Tishaura Jones, to come up with private funding to move it.
Krewson has said that the monument needs to go and that she will announce by mid-June a specific plan for its removal from the park. Though she didn’t give details or the potential cost on Friday, she specified that it would probably have to include public funding due to the potentially high expense.
“We’re figuring out the details. It’s a pretty complicated thing,” said Krewson, who noted that the 32-foot-tall granite monument is estimated to weigh more than 40 tons.
“It has to come down in pieces, or parts,” said Krewson. “Think about that. How many tons can you put on a truck? How many pounds can go over a bridge? ... There’s some engineering to this. So that’s what we’re working out right now. We’re making progress on it.”
She said she didn’t envision a plan that would include irrevocably destroying the monument.
“The plan is to take it apart in pieces and then to store it,” she said. “But those parts could go back together.”
Where those parts would go remains a big question.
Some other cities have put such monuments in history museums. In St. Louis, one possibility is the Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks, but the city has balked at the museum’s conditions that the city provide all the moving expenses and give up any future control over the monument.
Supporters of keeping the monument in place will stage a “unity rally” around the structure at 11 a.m. Saturday. A spokesman said that there would be free food and beverages, and that organizers were asking that participants not bring Confederate flags.
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