“There are other costs that need to be factored in, particularly for those in our community who see the monument, whether named for a historical figure or having a different name, as one that would remain hurtful and even traumatic if it continues to stand.”
“Why haven’t the public comments to the Vance Monument commission been published on a website so we can have an informed discussion?”
“I’m looking forward to the day we can have a centerpiece in our city that reflects Asheville today,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. “And I’m proud to be part of the Council that will make this change.”
Removing Asheville’s Vance Monument will cost between $114,150 and $495,000, according to five bids submitted by North Carolina-based construction and demolition companies.
“We cannot avoid the hidden phantom side effects of the desecration of the monument, held so dear by so many.”
As Asheville takes steps to reckon with its long history of systemic racism and economic inequity, local business owners are wondering what impacts the city’s ambitious initiatives will have on them.
On Dec. 8, Asheville City Council voted to move forward with the removal of the downtown obelisk, which memorializes Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance. Sandra Kilgore was the only member in opposition.
Because the monument stands on city property, Asheville City Council will have the ultimate say; Council is expected to take that vote at its regular meeting on Dec. 8.
Mayor Esther Manheimer emailed Xpress the evening of Dec. 7 to say that Council was moving the Vance item from reports to new business, allowing for both public comment and a vote. She did not immediately respond to a request for clarification regarding the rationale behind that change.
On Monday, Dec. 7, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to accept the recommendation of the Vance Monument Task Force, a body jointly appointed by the county and city of Asheville, to take down the downtown obelisk that memorializes Confederate Gov. Zebulon Vance.
From the fate of the Vance Monument to a proposed affordable housing complex on land acquired through urban renewal, city officials move forward with longstanding projects.
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.
As newly elected Asheville City Council members Sandra Kilgore, Sage Turner and Kim Roney embark on a new chapter of civic leadership following a close race, they inherit controversial priorities from the outgoing Council that will likely dominate the first few months of their term.
Per the joint city and county resolution that established the group, a “recommendation regarding the removal and/or repurposing of the Vance Monument” must be delivered to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners within three months of Aug. 4, when the final members were appointed.
After the city of Asheville enjoyed widespread national and international press for adopting a resolution in support of reparations for the Black community on July 14, Buncombe County may be next in line.