There is a renewed discussion about the future of the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park more than a year after Mayor Francis Slay said it should come down.
But now there is a new mayor in St. Louis, and a new effort to take down the 103-year-old memorial.
Business owner Stuart Keating says he has the equipment and the volunteers to take the 32-foot-high granite statue down.
“We’re pretty good at demolishing things, we have the equipment. And we thought we’d like to be good citizens and do our part,” said Keating who has spent the last year demolishing and rebuilding a new space for his business, Earthbound Brewery.
His offer comes just days after the city of New Orleans removed four Confederate Memorials in their city. In 2015, Mayor Slay said St. Louis’ memorial, which was erected and paid for by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1913, needed to come down.
Newly inaugurated Mayor Lyda Krewson is now the one who will make the decision.
A spokesperson said Mayor Krewson will be meeting next week to discuss the options for the memorial’s future in Forest Park.
Sherri Horton is a member of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and says while she cannot speak for the organization, she said if it was to be removed, it would be like removing history.
“It’s not going to change anything, the history is still there, if you take and it put it somewhere else or take it down, it’s not going to go away,” said Horton.
There are several options on the table, including placing it in a museum, tearing it down, and an option floated out by the last administration was to bury it. That would cost $100,000.
That’s why Keating says he’ll do it for free. Asked whether he believes all or part of it should remain for history sake he replied, “while I do feel bad for the sacrifices made by poor white Southerners on behalf of the Southern masters who controlled the slave trade, they lost, slavery is abhorrent and no, I think it’s something we shouldn’t be memorializing.”
Eddie Roth, the director of Human Services for the city, and the person tasked with studying what to do with memorial said a decision could come in the next weeks.
A spokesperson for Forest Park said they have a neutral position on the issue and deferred comment to the city.
News 4 reached out the Civil War Museum in St. Louis but calls were not returned.
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