Charlottesville Debates Moving Statue on W. Main St., Removing it Entirely
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Another statue is up for debate in Charlottesville after plans to relocate it were brought up during the City Council meeting on Monday, May 6.
The plans are part of the West Main Streetscape Project to bring improvements to that corridor in the city.
As part of the plans to improve West Main Street, city staff members have recommended that the statue of Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea be moved 20 feet away from its current location so streets can be aligned.
But that suggestion to move it sparked calls from some community members that it should be removed all together.
The city says it would cost between $45,000 and $50,000 to move the statue 20 feet to then create a mini park. Along with moving the statue, the project is projected to cost $30 million.
Staff members also say the streetscape plans would allow for another statue to go in its place in the mini park should the city decide to remove the current statue entirely.
The controversy behind the current statue is the depiction of Sacagawea crouching behind the two men.
A plaque was added in recent years to add context about the Native American woman.
“Even though we put a plaque up, it's still offensive,” Anthony Guy Lopez, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, said. “It's demeaning, and it's not the way I want my relatives, the women in my family, portrayed.”
In order to move the statue, it would have to be approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources because it's on the Registry of Historic Resources and Places.
City Council voted four to one to start a separate process of deciding the future of the statue.
The next step is for the city to create a resolution establishing a process for public engagement.
The city says the challenge is making sure removing the statue meets the timeline for the West Main Streetscape Project, which could add to the total $30 million cost by an additional 20% if it delays the project.
Related Article: City Council Discusses Future of West Main Street