JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Now that the Jacksonville city council decided not to take down the controversial confederate monuments immediately, what is next?
The confederate monument in Springfield park is going to stay, but for how long? That’s still up in the air. There’s going to be much more debate and obviously there’s going to be more protest.
A group of protestor from the Northside Coalition vowed Tuesday just before the council vote -- saying if it does not pass they will continue to make their voice heard until the statue in Springfield Park is gone -- and the base of the monument in James Weldon Johnson Park across from city hall.
News4JAX caught up with Jacksonville resident, Marsh Brandon, on Wednesday. She is opposed to the statue but believes getting more community input would be important before the city makes a move.
“Well I think everything is a process and I don’t think they are going to take it down on their own because it creates confusion,” Brandon said. “If they do a process they recognize that it is old thinking -- a symbol of old thinking -- they will do the right thing, we all hope they will do the right thing.”
City councilman Aaron Bowman explained Tuesday that is what he hopes will happen. The council is going to continue its earlier approved plan to get more community input and bring in out of state scholars to facilitate talks.
“We knew to not do something or do something without involving the community is absolutely the wrong thing to do,” Bowman said. “So, we said you know what, we got to look this issue head-on. Have the public meet and get educated and then we will take action letting everybody talk about it and bring in a committee together.”
But that will be something for the next council president to implement. News4JAX tried talking with the mayor today but was told by staff that’s not going to happen right now.
Part of Mayor Lenny Curry’s upcoming budget, which is still being worked on, could include a half-million dollars to bring down the monument in Springfield park, but it would be up to the city council to make that happen.
News4JAX Insider Jerry Dugger said, “Don’t you think the money would be better spent on roads, housing, etc.? If Matt (Carlucci) and his people feel so strongly on removing the statues let them raise private money and not taxpayer money!”
City council member Matt Carlucci told us Tuesday, he does have private backers in mind to help if the cost should run more than what the city projects.
We also reached out to the Jacksonville chamber of commerce and received this statement this afternoon: While our Board of Directors has not taken a formal position on this statue, the Chamber has been clear and consistent through the years in its position that discrimination and symbols of discrimination have no place in our community.
So, if you are for keeping the monuments up or wanting them taken down -- know this, it’s going to remain a political and social hot topic in Jacksonville for a least the next year.