Whose monument is it?
Who owns the monument?
As a city asset, it is we, the city’s owners.
And, as the owners, we can do with it what we will. Most of the logical options have been proposed, and rejected, even though we don’t really know the ‘who’ or ‘why’ of the objections. It just isn’t clear how the city commission came to their conclusion to leave it in place.
Hard to argue that the monument is not divisive. Its location and potential relocation are certainly not bringing the community together in a shared history.
It is simply not Lakeland’s history.
And I suggest that they have not considered the most obvious choice:
Offer the monument to whomever will have it.
… and respectfully place it in an accessible location on private property. If there are no takers, it will be clear that it no longer holds a historical significance, even to its supporters, and should not therefore be the centerpiece of our city any longer.
Confederate veterans had no more to do with Lakeland’s founding than any other set of citizens. Bartow on the other hand, is another story. Built from the ashes of the devastating war and named for the first Confederate officer who died in that war, it is bound to it.
But not Lakeland. Give the statue to those who value it.