Confederate monument removed from Gainesville’s Leonard Park

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 9:35 PM CDT
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GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) - Months after the Gainesville City Council agreed to purchase the Confederate monument on display at Leonard Park it was taken down Wednesday.

“We didn’t want to get rid of any monuments, but put them in a better place that more represented the community,” said Gainesville City Manager Barry Sullivan.

The removal project cost $12,108, all funded through the city’s hotel occupancy tax, which has limited use for historical and art-related projects.

The city had originally budgeted out $30 thousand for the removal project.

“The next step will be placing another monument here, paid through private funds and the hotel occupancy tax fund,” Sullivan said. “This will be a unity statue.”

The “unity statue” that will take it’s place, Sullivan said, will be a Texas star held up by several different hands and engraved with quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Helen Keller and several medal of honor recipients.

The city is working with the Morton Museum and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to put up a display for the monument and preserve its historical context.

For now the monument will be stored in an alley way across from the museum, Sullivan said.

“At my age I always knew that these statues were up when my parents were alive,” said Suzan Endres, who has lived in Gainesville for 35 years. “The people that wanted to take these statues down did not give enough thought to the back story. These statues were a preservation of our history.”

Endres said she was happy to hear the statue was going to a museum so children can “learn more what it stands for.”

Justin Thompson, a member of the group PRO Gainesville, said it took “a lot of work and a lot of heartache” to get the monument removed.

“We’ve been protesting since last June,” Thompson said. “We are moving in a progressive way and you don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Thomspon called the statue’s removal “a win” but said PRO Gainesville remains focused on getting the confederate statue at the Cooke County Courthouse taken down.

“It’s going to take some time,” Thompson said. “It may take us another 4 or five years until it comes down but we need to continue putting the pressure on them to take the statue down.”

There’s no date set for when the new unity statue will go up in Leonard Park.

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