More than 30 residents air opinions on Confederate monument in Portsmouth

One after another, residents spoke out Tuesday about the city's confederate monument. The public comment period lasted almost three hours and included more than 30 speakers.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- One after another, residents spoke out Tuesday about the city's confederate monument. The public comment period lasted almost three hours and included more than 30 speakers.

"These monuments have become a spot of contention, in sighting violence, hatred, and division thus they should be removed immediately," said someone infavor of moving the monument.

"Where would it end, if we remove because it offends someone then we stand for the removal of everything that's been built," said another person against the monument removal.

After listening to both sides, city council has decided to direct the city manager and attorney to look into moving the confederate monument.

"What we asked Dr. Patton to do and the city attorney is do the research bring us back something," said Mayor John Rowe.

The monument, which dates back to the 18th century, currently sits at the intersection of High and Court Streets. Mayor Rowe and other council members have said it should be moved to Cedar Grove Cemetery.

But council members Nathan Clark and Bill Moody say the city doesn't have the authority to touch the monument.

"It's a violation of state code, its a violation of our city charter, and its a violation of the oath of this office, it will put the city at risk of criminal penalties and civil liabilities," said Clark.

Then there is the issue of cost, moving the 35-foot-tall structure is estimated at over $100,000.

"I really question if Portsmouth has the resources with all the on going financial issues to remove a monument that sat there since the 1890s," said another resident.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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