Cost to remove Robert E. Lee statue less than expected

Costs to remove Robert E. Lee statue less than expected

Taxpayers are expected to catch a small break after the monument of Robert E. Lee was removed in Oak Lawn Park last September.

The removal and relocation of the statue, approved by city council, sparked heated discussion and other protests in Dallas.

The monument stood for 81 years, but following a deadly protest over the removal of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, VA—councilors moved to take the statue down.

The city was willing to spend up to $500,000 to remove the monument, and now WFAA is learning that the final bill will likely be a lot less.

“The cost of taking the statue down was a little lower than we expected,” Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said Sunday.

Next week, councilors are expected to approve no more than $375,000 for the removal and relocation of the monument, per city documents.

Caraway, who co-sponsored a resolution seeking the immediate removal of the statue, says he sees the proposed final total as a win. He adds that that security costs were piling up as protests unfolded.

“Had the statue still been up, we would probably be up to $2 million dollars right now in security costs,” Caraway said. “I think the safest thing to do, and the best move, was to remove it, store it, and make decisions about how it should be revealed back to society.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans opposed the removal of the statue. On Sunday, the national organization’s second-in-command said the decision still bothers him.

“I’ve never been in favor of tax dollars, or any dollars, being spent to eradicate or erase or remove history,” Paul Gramling said.

“I’m upset that ignorance and propaganda, is the rule of the day. No one is sitting down to talk about the facts and the truths of that particular war.”

Right now, the statue remains in storage. A task force created by the city to review Confederate monuments recommended that it be given to a museum or to an educational institute.

WFAA is also learning that same task force recently recommended councilors revisit the issue in 3 years if they’re unsuccessful in finding a permanent solution soon.

But if you ask Caraway, he expects the monument to not be in storage for long.

“It’s not going to sit in storage, and I don’t want to revisit it,” Caraway said. “I think it’s time for us to move this thing forward, and get it off the table completely.”

 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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