Governor Ralph Northam announced Sunday that he has ordered for the process to remove the pedestal from the circle on Monument Avenue that formerly housed the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to begin immediately.
The removal is set to begin Monday morning and be completed by the end of the year. The circle area of land that is currently owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia will be donated to the City of Richmond.
“This land is in the middle of Richmond, and Richmonders will determine the future of this space,” Northam said in a statement Sunday. “The Commonwealth will remove the pedestal and we anticipate a safe removal and a successful conclusion to this project.”
Northam’s announcement states that officials will safely disassemble and store the pedestal until the next steps have been determined. Republican Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will be sworn into office on Jan. 15.
In September, Youngkin expressed support for removing the Lee Statue, citing the court ruling giving Northam the power to remove it. “And I do hope, John, that they put it someplace like a battlefield or a museum so that we won’t forget our history. And I do hope that we, in fact, recognize how wrong the graffiti and the violence was around statues, and that we have to stand up for law enforcement, not demean them and defund them.”
If the missing 1887 time capsule is recovered during the disassembly process, it will remain under the control of Virginian and will be removed for preservation.
In a press release, the City of Richmond stated that “the future of the circle, like that of all Monument Avenue, will be determined through a thoughtful and community-rooted planning process, with the objective of repurposing the space in support of the goals set forth in the Richmond 300 Master Plan.”
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