The Daviess County Confederate Monument Relocation Committee has finally settled on two possible locations for the controversial Daviess County Confederate statue.
On Wednesday, committee chair Aloma Dew, along with committee members Kenny Barr, Tim Kline, Wesley Acton and Anne Damron, met via Zoom to narrow down community and member suggestions regarding the fate of the statue with committee members unanimously landing on two recommendations to present to Daviess Fiscal Court: The Owensboro Museum of Science and History as well as the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.
The caveat to these recommendations is that the statue would be separated from it immense base with the base being relocated to the site of the Battle of Panther Creek at Panther Creek Park located on U.S. 431.
Relocating the statue to Elmwood Cemetery was a popular option to both the public and committee members but after Kline’s correspondence with the owners of Elmwood yielded a no, the committee opted to leave the cemetery out of their final recommendations.
The committee held their first meeting on Sept. 23 after it was decided and unanimously approved by the members of the fiscal court that a community committee would be the proper avenue in including the community in the decision-making process.
For a group of “civilians” to take on such a galvanizing issue was nothing short of brave, said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly during the committee’s first meeting.
“I appreciate their courage for willingly being a part of a committee created to weigh community input and ultimately aid the court in making the best decision for Daviess County,” he said.
For seven weeks, committee members have discussed everything from community suggestions such as putting the issue on the ballot or chucking it in the Ohio River to dealing with the Kentucky Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC, through Damron, have not only threatened to sue the fiscal court but have claimed ownership of the statue and that they have “five” sites selected for its final resting place.
In large part, the UDC has remained silent except for a letter from KY-UDC President Karen Wallace that arrived prior to the meeting where she wrote that, “It is her understanding that the monument is no longer welcome at the site.”
Wallace went on to claim ownership in the letter and said that the organization would, “consider moving the statue to another location given a suitable time frame.”
While Dew read the letter to committee members, it had no bearing on the meeting or the committee’s final recommendations, especially given the fact that the UDC has rebuffed numerous invitations to be a part of the removal process.
Dew said it has been an emotional issue for the community and an emotional seven weeks for the committee, but anyone who wished to weigh in on the issue has had their chance, and it was time for the committee to end its charge and make recommendations to the fiscal court.
“This has been a long and emotional fight,” she said. “Change is hard. Our job was to come up with suitable recommendations for the fiscal court to consider. We have done that job. This committee has worked really hard and the committee members are good citizens for taking the time and effort to do this; your county is proud of you. We have had this difficult discussion in a civil manner and the final decision lies with the fiscal court.”
The Daviess County Confederate Monument Relocation Committee will hold its final meeting on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. where members will approve the final recommendations for the court.