Richmond, Va. (WRIC) — City leaders have taken the first steps to remove the Confederate General A.P. Hill statue, which still stands in Richmond.
Hill’s remains are buried underneath the monument which has presented a unique challenge after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered all city-owned monuments to be removed last year.
Tuesday at a Richmond Commission of Architectural Review meeting, members approved a request from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, or PRCF, to start the process of removing the monument, pedestal and Hill’s remains.
This approval allows the city to move forward with the process and provide temporary restoration of the site.
“We’re just really asking for permission at this point. Timelines and all those have not been decided but we know we still have to go through many, many more steps. This is the very first step in the process,” said Chris Frelke, Director of PRCF.
Frelke said the City has been working with descendants of Hill to find a final resting place for the remains. That process will occur separately with the state.
During public comment, Resident Sarah Driggs agreed it should come down. “I do think this should be removed. It’s a terribly dangerous intersection,” she said.
However, she felt differently about pieces of other monuments that still stand.
In the meeting, the Commission also approved plans to begin removing other parts of Confederate monuments that still remain, such as the J.E.B. Stuart pedestal on Monument Ave. and the remainder of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Church Hill.
The temporary restoration plans from PRCF show the J.E.B. Stuart site becoming a landscaped, grassy space.
For some residents, that would be moving too fast. “I think that the removal means that you are trying to beautify your city rather than address the harms that have been committed against members of our community,” said resident Katherine Driggs.
Others agreed, asking for more time for public input before the remaining pedestals and pieces come down. “Giving the community the opportunity to embrace the project and be a part of the conversation,” said one resident.
The Commission approved the plans, moving them forward to the Richmond Urban Design Committee and City Planning Commission.
Members agreed the City should maintain the pieces of monuments that are removed for two years so they have the chance to be re-used in the future.
Last year, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a $25 million project led by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to re-imagine Monument Ave.