City manager favors keeping Confederate memorial

It’s the five-member city commission’s decision, but, St Augustine’s City Manager tells Historic City News that he will recommend at the next meeting that they not accede to the demands of a few residents, but rather allow the confederate memorial in the Plaza to remain in place; adding contextualization that will be guided by a Commission-appointed advisory committee.

Of course, the St Augustine City Commission is under no obligation to accept John Regan’s recommendation. They can decide to relocate the memorial, come up with their own plan, or do nothing at all. The city manager’s presentation and recommendation was published today as part of the October 23rd agenda.

“If they decide to relocate the confederate memorial, it raises a number of challenges including how to move it without physically destroying it, the cost and who would pay, as well as identifying a place for relocation,” Regan said in a Wednesday statement distributed to local media. “If they do nothing, they miss an opportunity to tell the city’s complete history.”

During the August 28th meeting, the St. Augustine City Commission heard more than four-hours of public comment regarding the future of the city’s memorial. It was at the conclusion of that meeting, and after discussion among themselves, that commissioners asked the city manager to conduct research into the topic and return with options and a recommendation of specific action.

The presentation on Monday, October 23rd, will offer background on the memorial’s history, its context with other Civil War related recognitions in Florida and nationwide, and recounts the city’s ongoing effort to tell its whole history.

Not everyone in the audience will be thrilled with Regan’s recommendation. AME Pastor Ronald R. Rawls, Jr., has issued televised ultimatums and made threats broadcast over the Internet on Facebook Live calling for his followers to picket certain city events, like the upcoming first night of the Nights of Lights, known as Light-up Night.

Rawls says he will not rest until the city’s confederate memorial is removed from the Plaza de la Constitution where it has stood in peaceful memory of local family members who never returned home from the battlefield for more than 100-years.

The meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 23 in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King St. and will be carried live on GTV (Comcast channel 3) as well as on-line at CityStAugTV.com where it is also available on-demand the day following the meeting. The presentation, scheduled under the section of the agenda set aside for items by the City Manager, will be near the meeting’s conclusion.

Based on level of interest in this topic and the participation of the previous meeting, overflow seating will be available in the loggia off the City Hall courtyard after 7:00 p.m. Those arriving after The Alcazar Room has reached capacity, may fill out a comment card, but there will be no overflow seating until after 7:00 p.m. due to an event at Lightner Museum.

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