Members of the Vance Monument Task Force voted 11-1 on Nov. 19 to remove the monument from the center of downtown Asheville, marking an end to 12 weeks of intense public comment and community division.
Task force co-chair Oralene Simmons led the roll-call vote for three different options: removal, relocation or repurposing. Member Ben Scales was the only member to support repurposing.
Since August, the task force has received more than 600 public comments, ranging from impassioned support for immediately removing the Confederate marker to outright fury that anyone would consider moving an important city landmark.
“We have taken a journey together over the last 12 weeks,” Simmons said in her remarks after the vote. “We’ve had many meetings, spent hours planning and gathering data, seeking input and evaluating facts. We accomplished a lot by listening and learning from each other with dignity and respect.”
The task force recommendation will likely go before the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Dec. 7, and Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The task force was only charged with deciding the disposition of the monument; if its recommendation is adopted by the two governing bodies, Council and Commission will determine logistics and funding for removal.