The Confederate monument outside of a Hillsborough County building is a step closer to being moved.
Make that seventy thousand steps closer.
The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce today announced it was committing $70,000 to relocate the monument. The announcement comes a day after Hillsborough officials warned that if enough money isn’t raised by private citizens to undertake the effort, it would remain in its current location.
“As a result of the Hillsborough County Commission’s decision to pass their responsibility to the business community, in conjunction with other community efforts, we have accepted their challenge and there are commitments exceeding the goal,” reads a statement from the Chamber. “Following our lead, significant other business leaders have committed to moving the monument.”
The commission voted last month to remove the 106-year-old monument. But Wednesday’s 4-2 decision meant the county would not remove the monument unless sufficient private funds could be raised in 30 days.
“I believe the statue is going to be moved,” said Commissioner Victor Crist, who was not present for last month’s vote and asked commissioners to revisit the decision to move it. “I understand the sensitivity of the issue and the necessity of relocating it. I think the taxpayers should not be on the hook for the cost.”
The discussion unfolded as cities across the nation are re-evaluating Confederate statues on public property. Wednesday’s emotional meeting reflected strong feelings on both sides about the issue, and about the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Advocates of Southern heritage say removing these symbols is a disservice to the men who fought in the Civil War.
Called ‘Memoria In Aeterna,’ the Tampa monument sits outside of a courthouse administrative building and depicts two Confederate soldiers. One faces north. The other facing south and plods along, battered, weary and tattered.
Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are standing guard over the monument to prevent any unexpected efforts to remove it.