Members of the Courthouse Square Memorial Committee will gather on the Courthouse grounds on Sept. 21 to continue their discussion about how to replace the Confederate monument which was removed earlier this summer. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
The monument was removed in sections beginning in June. Today, only its base remains on Courthouse Square. In August, the Warren County Board of Commissioners formed the Memorial Committee to include representatives of each of the county commissioner districts and at-large members.
The committee consists of the following: Richard Hunter, Tilda Hendricks, Victoria Lehman, Jereann King Johnson, Ronnie Terry, Al Cooper, Mary Goode Knight, Mike Hairston, Dianna Talley, William Kearney and Horace Cheek.
The group held its first meeting last week via conference call to review its purpose and goals, and to receive initial feedback. After concluding its work, the committee will make recommendations to county commissioners about options to replace the Confederate monument.
The board of county commissioners defined the committee’s primary goal as that of ensuring that the county receives input from a diverse group of residents who can help facilitate conversations around the removal of the monument and consider options for a replacement that represents all of Warren County and its rich diversity.
Commissioners have tasked the committee with considering whether to repurpose or replace the monument’s remaining base, coordinate the call for replacement ideas, and identify replacement options. The board would like for the committee’s recommendations to represent an effort to unite local residents with a public art project that represents Warren County as a whole.
During last week’s meeting, committee member Hendricks raised the question about whether a budget had been set for the project and how the funding would be provided. She asked whether funding would be allocated by the commissioners or if Warren County residents would have to raise the needed money.
Terry asked if there would be size limitations on the artwork, and Lehman asked if not placing anything on the former monument site would be an option.
King Johnson requested more information about how the committee would “coordinate the call for replacement ideas.”
Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners Angelena Kearney-Dunlap, who was facilitating the initial meeting, said it appeared that the committee would coordinate efforts to canvass the public for their ideas. She noted that she would bring the members’ questions to County Manager Vincent Jones and the board of commissioners, and report what she learned to the committee.
Kearney-Dunlap and county attorney Hassan Kingsberry will serve as liaisons between the committee and county government.
As Kearney-Dunlap asked committee members why they wanted to serve, repeated themes included bringing the county together, unity, building bridges, and making everybody happy together.
The initial meeting served as an opportunity to lay the foundation for the committee’s upcoming work. However, members requested the chance to meet in person in a socially-distanced setting before electing officers.
For more information about the committee, visit the Warren County website at warrencountync.com and click on “Boards and Commissions.”