Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday the process is underway to remove the Confederate statue from the Red Brick Courthouse grounds in Rockville.
Leggett said in a phone interview with Bethesda Beat that the county is getting estimates from contractors to remove the statue, which he expects to receive by the end of the week.
“We’re in the process of getting it done,” Leggett said.
The county executive said the county hasn’t decided where to relocate the statue once it’s removed from the courthouse grounds.
“The removal question is resolved,” Leggett said. “The only question now is where it should go.”
Leggett said he didn’t have an answer to the second question yet. He said the statue will be placed in storage if an appropriate location isn’t found by the time it’s removed. He said there are a “number of appropriate locations.”
Local historians and Rockville City Council members have pitched some possible locations, such as the Beall-Dawson House in Rockville, the home of the Montgomery County Historical Society; and the Rockville Cemetery, where Rockville military veterans—including Confederate and Union soldiers—are buried.
While Leggett didn’t mention specific locations Tuesday, he defended making a decision Friday to remove the statue before a public discussion about its possible removal was held Monday night at Rockville City Hall.
“The public has been debating it for weeks,” Leggett said. “At some point you have to move on… . This is not something that is done by a public referendum.”
Leggett said he decided to remove the statue it from its public location in a shaded grove of trees across from the Circuit Court because he believes the statue is “a reflection of somewhat revisionist history.” He said if the statue had been designed to honor all soldiers who fought on both sides of the Civil War, then it probably could have remained, “but this is a statue that reflects one side—the Confederate side—in a location that is clearly reflective of the whole county.”
During the Civil War, Leggett noted, county residents “overwhelmingly” chose not to fight for the Confederate side.
Similar points were made during Monday night’s public discussion about the statue. Other people who attended, including Rockville historians, made the case that the statue should remain as an educational tool to teach current and future county residents about a controversial reconciliation process that occurred after the Civil War in Rockville and the rest of the country.
However, supporters who believe the statue should remain in its current location will likely be disappointed. Leggett said there’s no chance he’ll reconsider his decision to remove it.