Residents voice concerns over Confederate statue

Published 1:50 pm Friday, March 10, 2017

The Demopolis City Council once again heard from local residents who voiced concerns and frustrations regarding the future of the Confederate Memorial that was damaged last summer.

All discussion regarding the statue came as part of the public comments portion of the meeting. The council had removed the item from its regular agenda until members of a committee had the chance to meet and bring its recommendations. But some of the residents who spoke questioned why a committee was even necessary.

“The police car (involved in the accident) has already been repaired. The statue should have been done at the same time and in the same manner,” Douglas Null said to the council.

Email newsletter signup

There were also concerns regarding who was on the committee as some said those names were being withheld. Councilman Charles Jones shared the list of names he could recall at that moment, which was all but one, and Mayor John Laney said a list would be made available at city hall on Friday.

Jones added, that the committee would only make a recommendation and that, ultimately, it would be up to the individual council members to decide how to vote.

“This is a fair and impartial group,” Jone said.”After going through all the processes, they will make a recommendation. At the end of the day that’s all it is — a recommendation. The vote comes from here (the council).”

At least four people said to the council that they want the statue repaired to its original state.

“This is an issue left to this administration because the previous administration did not want to move forward,” Laney said. “We are finishing something that was not done before the election and we are trying to do it in the fairest way I know how.”

While the council does not have to follow the committee’s recommendation, Jones added that it is an important part of the process, including determining the potential costs that may be involved beyond the city’s insurance coverage.

“We will investigate and do our due deligence,” Jones said.

In other action at Thursday’s meeting, the council approved moving forward with an ADECA grant that will fund a rail spur being constructed to Two Rivers Lumber Mill.

The $540,000 grant will be funded at 100 percent.

The council also appointed William Coplin Jr. to serve as the city’s attorney in a specific legal matter.