A proposal by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (R) to remove a Confederate monument in Springfield Park was defeated by the Jacksonville City Council in a 12 to 6 vote.

Curry’s proposal to remove the Tribute to the Women of the Confederacy Monument would have cost $1.3 million.

Hours after the Council’s decision, Curry went to Twitter to express his disappointment, where he wrote, “Tonight the City Council disappointingly denied a step toward real progress in Our City by refusing to vote on the removal of a divisive monument from public land.

In an interview on Wednesday with News4Jax regarding the failed proposal, Curry stated, “It’s an opportunity to remove a monument that’s divisive. I committed last summer that we were going to begin that process.”

He added, “This particular one needed a certain amount of dollars appropriated that it had to be approved by the City Council, and they made a decision last night not to deal with it. So if it’s going to be moved, they’re going to have to put the bill back before them and vote yes or vote no. They just chose not to make a decision. It’s unfortunate.”

During the meeting, supporters of the legislation argued that if the monument is not removed that it would ruin the city of Jacksonville’s reputation by perpetuating white supremacy by approving of a symbol of the “evils” of the Civil War.

However, opponents of the legislation, in part, argued that the $1.3 million is too much for removing a monument when that money could be used for other things like homelessness, infrastructure, and even – as one speaker suggested -combating human trafficking.

Other opponents focused on how removing the monument would remove history and eliminate the purpose of the monument, which was to commemorate the woman and children who took part and were affected by the Civil War.

Even though the legislation was withdrawn, it appears the controversy will continue. Lecia Brooks, the chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said in a statement:

“We are disappointed in the Jacksonville City Council’s decision to leave a Confederate statue standing in a public park instead of heeding the will of its community members and the business community. But we are not deterred. In fact, we continue to be encouraged by grassroots groups like the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and Take Em Down Jax, which have vowed to remain resolute in their fight to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public spaces.”

She added, “The SPLC will continue supporting the advocacy efforts of these groups and concerned community members until the mayor’s 2020 promise comes to fruition. Removing the Confederate statue in Springfield Park and all Confederate symbols scattered across the city of Jacksonville from public view is the only choice.”

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Lenny Curry” by Lenny Curry. Background Photo “Jacksonville City Hall” by Michael Rivera. CC BY-SA 4.0.