Resolution to fund Confederate statue removal in Jacksonville fails

JACKSONVILLE — UPDATE 8:54 p.m.: The resolution to fund the removal of Jacksonville’s two Confederate statues has failed with a vote of 13 to 6.

ORIGINAL STORY:

City council members gaveled in Tuesday evening and will soon vote on a resolution to fund the removal of the city’s two remaining Confederate statues.

For Jacksonville resident, Delano Brown, the Confederate statue in James Weldon Johnson Park brings a few words to mind. “Hatred, bigotry, oppression,” said Brown.

Brown is hoping the city council will find the will to finally do away with the city’s last two monuments to the Confederacy. “They should get rid of it and start anew,” said Brown.

Protesters outside City Hall Tuesday afternoon are banking on the latest attempt to remove the statues.

The resolution would commit council members to including half a million dollars in this year’s city budget for removing the pillar in James Weldon Johnson Park and the Daughters of the Confederacy statue in Springfield Park.

“This is no longer a debate about what these statues stand for. We all know what these statues stand for. We all know why they were erected,” said Wells Todd with Take Em’ Down Jax.

The project was initially pegged at $1.3 million.

Bill sponsor Mat Carlucci (R-Group 4 At-Large) said he already has commitments from private dinners to cover the remaining cost of the removal.

Carlucci told us Tuesday afternoon if his bill doesn’t pass, it would greatly reduce any chance of seeing these monuments removed before the end of the year.

“We have the opportunity now to change the culture of Jacksonville towards, you know, a better place,” said Carlucci.

He argued after the mayor and council members pledged to remove the statues more than two years ago, inaction is no longer an option.

“These divisive statues, monuments, Confederate flags, so forth, do not belong in public spaces or public parks. Public parks are for friendship, unity and family fun,” said Carlucci.

Early indications are the bill doesn’t have the votes to pass.

It was voted down by large margins in its two committee stops.

We did attempt to speak with some of those who came to show support for keeping the statute, but they declined, preferring to speak during the public comment Tuesday tonight.