Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Decisions Yet on Monuments; St. Augustine Commissioners Agreed on Taking Careful Approach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Decisions Yet on Monuments; St. Augustine Commissioners Agreed on Taking Careful Approach

Article excerpt

Byline: Sheldon Gardner

St. Augustine officials say they won't be making any fast decisions about what to do with a Confederate monument in downtown's Plaza de la Constitucion.

After hearing hours of public comment Monday night, commissioners asked for a careful approach. And Tuesday, City Manager John Regan said that's how he's moving forward.

"I think we're at a real critical moment in our city's history right now," Regan said.

The next step is researching how other governments have addressed the issue of Confederate monuments and the policies other cities have for monuments in public. Regan plans to bring that back to commissioners for consideration, but he hasn't given himself a deadline for doing so, he said.

After hearing public comment Monday, Mayor Nancy Shaver said many questions remain to be answered about the city's options.

Removing the Confederate monument on city land on the east side of the plaza is a possibility, said City Attorney Isabelle Lopez. Laws regarding burial grounds would apply to the memorial to Confederate Gen. William Loring, which is on the western side of the plaza and is under state - not city - control. His ashes are buried there.

"For our monument ... it's a public policy decision," Lopez said.

That's how Shaver described the issue Monday.

"The policy question to me, really, is what is appropriate to have in a public space," Shaver said. "I think that takes contemplation. I think it takes understanding what that might mean from many resources."

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline pointed to some resources to consider, including a statement from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that she said summed up her opinion at the moment.

The statement said, according to Sikes-Kline, that people should remember the past, but not necessarily revere it. …

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