VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach city officials have taken steps to prevent any destruction or vandalism to the Confederate monument sitting at the Old Princess Anne County Courthouse.
Acting City Manager Tom Leahy released a statement on Friday about his decision to cover the monument and erect a fence around it.
On Saturday, the monument was completely covered and a locked gate was around the statue.
Video cameras will also be installed so the police can keep an eye on it. Leahy cites public safety, property protection and compliance with the law as reasons for this action.
At the moment, the city doesn't have any authority to remove or relocate the monument.
However, on July 1st, state code will officially change and grant the city power to remove, relocate and alter war memorials under its own authority. Leahy said he's scheduling a public hearing in July.
Gerthel Wolfe, a resident of Virginia Beach said she wants it gone.
“It's a stain I feel on the African American community and for the city of Virginia Beach. The city can be better. It’s not just one group of people that live in the city," said Wolfe.
“We just want it gone. It’s passed time and this is a step in the right direction," said Wolfe.
In January, Virginia Beach City Council discussed the monument's future and turned to the Historic Preservation Commission for guidance.
The commission advised that a public park could be built on the north side of Princess Anne Courthouse where people can learn about the city's history.
The leaders of other Hampton Roads cities have made similar decisions to avoid their Confederate statues from being vandalized, which stem from a protest in Portsmouth that led massive damage to the Confederate monument in Olde Towne.
Newport News fully covered its memorial in tarp. The Johnny Reb statue on top of the Confederate memorial in downtown Norfolk was removed altogether.
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