Huntsville City Council calls for Confederate monument relocation to city cemetery

The Huntsville City Council voted to have Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle discuss the relocation of the Confederate monument at the Madison County Courthouse to Maple Hill Cemetery.
The Huntsville City Council voted to have Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle discuss the relocation of the Confederate monument at the Madison County Courthouse to Maple Hill Cemetery.

Mayor Tommy Battle said his office would reach out to the Alabama Attorney General regarding the request.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 12:55 AM
Updated: Jun 26, 2020 7:40 AM

While a final decision on the Confederate monument by the Madison County Courthouse has yet to be made, the Huntsville City Council took another step toward trying to relocate it. 

During Thursday's meeting, the council voted unanimously to allow Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle to petition the Alabama Attorney General to allow for the removal of the monument of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan to be relocated at Maple Hill Cemetery, which currently houses numerous soldiers from the Civil War. 

Those who spoke about the monument, like Remus Bowdin, said there's no reason why the statue should continue to be placed on the public square.

"Let's call it what it is, it's not a statue honoring the dead general or a local farmer who died in the war, what stands in Huntsville's town square is an overt, declared monument to white supremacy," said Bowdin.

Battle said he would reach out to the AG's office along with other legislators who have called for the relocation of the monument as well. 

While the original monument was erected in the early 1900s, the part of the monument that shows General Morgan is a 60s era replica.

"This particular statue, at least the statue part, was put here in 1968 after the original was accidentally destroyed when it was moved into storage while the new courthouse was being constructed," said Dr. Waymon Burke, a history and political science instructor at Calhoun Community College.

Change to lodging tax

During Thursday night's council meeting, the council also unanimously voted to approve an ordinance that allows the city to reallocate some revenue by a 2% lodging tax increase that was put into place back in 2017.

Those funds, along with the $1 surcharge were set aside to fund both capital improvement projects for the Von Braun Center as well as other athletic venues. 

In an ordinance proposed by Councilman Devyn Keith, the city decided to instead use the 20% of that revenue that was going toward athletic venues and instead put it toward helping to fund the proposed amphitheater for the city

Under this new funding strategy, the city would have to use some funds from the 2014 Capital Improvement Plan for the first four years of the 20-year financing plan. This is in addition to a "Year 0," in which half of a typical year's debt service for the project would be due. 

Right now, the amphitheater is still being designed. That process should be completed in the next few months.

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