Confederate statue removal will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

Private donors and taxpayers would foot the bill
Posted at 3:07 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 12:00:11-04

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn donated $1,000 out of his own pocket on Thursday to go towards the relocation of the Confederate memorial in Tampa.

The removal process will cost an estimated $280,000.

Mayor Buckhorn tweeted a picture of his personal check with the caption, "Not a City statue but I have a moral obligation to do my part. Now take it down. "



"Why can't we take down a big a**, racist statue right now and just be done with it?" one speaker lamented to the Hillsborough County Commission.

The frustration at the County Center was as clear.

These citizens of Tampa asked board members again, for a third time, to take down a Confederate memorial in downtown Tampa.

"You've had hundreds of people to write, call, yell, scream," said another speaker.

But the Confederate memorial will stay put-- if private donors don't come up with $140,000 to help remove it. Taxpayers would split the cost of the removal process which is estimated at $280,000.

"I'm not trying to prevent the moving of the statue. I'm not even trying to slow it down. I'm just saying the money from the private contributions needs to come in," said County Commissioner Victor Crist.

Commissioner Les Miller said plainly, he believes the statue isn't going anywhere because of the tight financial deadline.

"Hillsborough County, the highly progressive county we are, will let a Confederate monument stay when everyone else is taking theirs down. I will be highly surprised if we're able to raise those dollars in 30 days," said Miller.

A deadline, Miller also made clear, is no cause for someone to act on their own will to pull the statue down like what happened in Durham, North Carolina this week.

"Don't do that. Don't get yourselves in trouble. Don't' get yourselves in jail because of your feelings on this monument," he said.

Tampa attorney Tom Scarritt is leading efforts to raise private money for the memorial's removal.

"Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay need to be an example for the other cities in the south that we can do this without being violent," said Scarritt. 

Scarritt has collected nearly $20K through a GoFundMe page and private checks sent to his office. 

"It's an investment that we're going to come together and we're going to unify when there are forces at work that are trying to tear us apart."

A diverse crowd of all races and religions gathered Wednesday night to honor the victims in Charlottesville, promoting peace and love in after a week scarred by hate and violence in Virginia. Relocating Tampa's statue was also a hot topic at the sermon. 

"I believe that it's time to be removed. A heritage, hate and pain are wrapped up into that one monument," said Rev. Glenn Dames Jr., of Allen Temple AME Church.  

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and other groups say they have a night watch at the statue to prevent vandalism and are poised to call police if there is any trouble.