Daviess County officials are expected to make a determination this month about where to locate the statue of the Confederate soldier that became a lightning rod for controversy last year.
But when a decision is announced, the committee that recommended the statue be given to either the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art or the Owensboro Museum of Science and History is going to be disappointed.
Mayor Tom Watson and city commissioners said Friday the statue will not be placed on any city-owned property. Both museum buildings belong to the city.
“The commission decided a while back not to have it on city property,” Mayor Pro Tem Larry Maglinger said Friday. “I haven’t heard of anything that has changed.”
The 120-year-old statue that resides on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse, like other Confederate monuments, became an issue last year, as part of the broader national discussion on racism and systematic racial inequality. The statue drew protests, and Daviess Fiscal Court voted to remove the statue from the courthouse lawn last summer. County commissioners appointed a committee to recommend where the statue should be placed.
In November, the committee recommended the statue go to the Museum of Science and History or OMFA. Mayor Tom Watson said city commissioners are in agreement to not place the statue on city property.
“We just talked one at a time among ourselves, and we had a consensus among ourselves,” Watson said Friday.
Moving the statue to one of the city’s museums “wasn’t a good solution,” Watson said, adding that moving the statue from city to county property “didn’t solve anything.”
“I see no reason to move it to another location where it’s still in public view,” Watson said.
Commissioner Jeff Sanford said “it doesn’t make sense” to display the statue in a city-owned property.
“We’ve said ‘no’ more than once” to taking the statue,” Sanford said Friday.
He said one idea was to donate a city-owned site to the county for the statue, but he doesn’t know what came of that idea.
“We had another solution, I thought,” Sanford said.
Commissioner Bob Glenn said there have been no formal discussions about the statue since he rejoined the commission in January, but it’s his understanding is the city does not want it.
“We don’t want to give it a prominent public place,” Glenn said. Having the statue on public display is not the message the city wants to send, he said.
“If you put it in a place where children are walking through, what are you saying to children of color?” Glenn said, adding that Confederate statues were erected in the 1920s and 1930s around the country by the Ku Klux Klan.
“They were clear-cut symbols of racism,” he said.
Commissioner Mark Castlen could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment.
Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said Friday he had no comment on the statue.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse