SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — After gathering public comments and holding several meetings, the Confederate Memorial Task Force presented recommendations to City Council on Thursday.
Public comments were taken during a two week period last year, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 13, on a monument that stands in in Forsyth Park.
According to the city, nearly 5,000 responses were received and of those — 2,442 identified themselves as residents of Savannah.
The Task Force decided to focus more on the opinions of Savannah residents due to the location of the memorial.
A little less than two-thirds of residents desired no changes to the memorial and a little more than a third of residents felt that there needed to be some change to the memorial:
- Do not change – 1564 votes (64.05%)
- Relocate – 378 votes (15.48%)
- Alter – 500 votes (20.47%)
After the public comments were taken, the Confederate Task Memorial Task Force held several meetings and came up with the following recommendations:
- Rename it from ‘Confederate Monument’ to ‘Civil War Memorial.’ This “returns to the original intent” of it being a memorial. It also includes all of Savannah’s fallen in the Civil War.
- Preserve all historical material on the memorial, including the Confederate soldier on top. The Task Force believes this statue represented the “everyman.” They also do not recommend removing historical material, as is a tradition of the city.
- Install a new bronze plaque on the south side of the memorial, dedicated to “all the dead of the American Civil War.” The former memorial was dedicated to the Confederate dead in 1875.
- Keep the vertical panel on the south side of the memorial blank so “future generations could add to the monument as they see fit.”
- Relocated Bartow and McLaws monuments to Laurel Grove North Cemetery where both are buried. The Task Force says these were added years after the memorial was erected and are “distractions from the original.”
- Once relocated, do not replace the Bartow and McLaws monuments at the memorial site.
- Preserve the fence around the memorial in its current form
- Expand the story of the Civil War, both its causes and effects, throughout Savannah outside of the memorial at Forsyth Park.
Council will vote on these recommendations at the council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 14.