Mayor Lightfoot ‘fully expects’ Columbus statue to be returned to Grant Park

Mayor Lightfoot ‘fully expects’ Columbus statue to be returned to Grant Park

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated Monday she “totally expects” the statue of Christopher Columbus to be returned to its pedestal in Grant Park, however not earlier than a safety plan is in place to stop a repeat of the 2020 debacle that left dozens of ambushed law enforcement officials injured.

“I am not gonna do something that places our officers in hurt’s manner. I’ll in all probability be endlessly haunted by the expertise of the vigilantes, who attacked our officers in Grant Park that summer season. Got here armed with – not indicators, however frozen water bottles, firecrackers and different issues that severely wounded most of the law enforcement officials (who) had been there,” the mayor stated.

Lightfoot famous residents “care deeply about” sure “legacy” statues – notably these which were the “topic of controversy,” such because the Grant Park Columbus statue.

Her overriding objective is “ensuring that, if that statue comes again, which I totally count on that it’s going to, that we have now a security plan in place.”

Ron Onesti, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian-People, was pleasantly shocked to be taught Lightfoot expects the Columbus statue to be returned to Grant Park.

RELATED: Mayor Lightfoot sued by lawyer claiming he was berated with vulgar language over Columbus statue

However Onesti stated one other Columbus statue – the one faraway from its pedestal in Arrigo Park – should even be “a part of the dialog.”

“That is as vital to us because the Grant Park one. Arrigo Park – even considerably moreso than the Grant Park one – is steeped in custom and household histories,” Onesti stated.

Onesti stated he is tried for months to satisfy Lightfoot to debate safety plans for each Columbus statues. His lawsuit towards the town was filed solely after the mayor ignored these calls for.

“It was by no means solely, ‘Give me the statue again.’ It was, ‘Let’s sit down, mayor. Let’s have a dialog on the subject of a vandalism plan, a safety plan, a monetary plan, a transportation plan. These had been issues we wanted to debate. That is what pressured our hand with the lawsuit within the first place. It was as a result of we could not get any such dialog and nonetheless have not,” Onesti stated.

“This entire factor concerning the statues might simply go away and never be spending any {dollars} on attorneys. Let’s simply put it again. Allow us to be a part of the planning with regard to security and safety. After which, we might nonetheless undergo the method of actually figuring out what’s finest for the town and the statues.”

Onesti acknowledged it is likely to be finest in the long term to maneuver one or each Columbus statues – however solely after they’re not less than briefly returned to Grant and Arrigo Parks.

“There’s just a few concepts that I’ve that I would love to speak to the mayor about. … There are a number of choices. It might be a part of a touring scenario. It might be a part of a museum scenario. It is the a hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the World’s Honest subsequent yr … that these statues had been constructed for. Possibly we do one thing with regard to that. There’s a number of artistic choices that I am able to unveil or unfurl on the mayor if she would simply form of sit down with us,” he stated.

RELATED: Chicago Christopher Columbus statues in Grant Park, Little Italy eliminated by metropolis; some aldermen blindsided, others applauding determination

In July 2020, Lightfoot ordered the 2 Columbus statues “briefly” eliminated in the course of the night time based mostly on info that one thing dangerous was about to occur.

On the similar time, the mayor argued that the statues – vandalized repeatedly after the demise of George Floyd by Minneapolis police – shouldn’t be torn down, however used to confront the nation’s historical past.

Metropolis Corridor then launched the Chicago Monuments Mission and created an advisory committee to conduct a complete evaluation of greater than 500 Chicago statues and monuments with a watch towards figuring out people who had been offensive, problematic or not consultant of metropolis’s values of fairness and justice.

Jennifer Scott, co-chair of the Monuments Mission Advisory Committee, subsequently disclosed that 41 statues had been deemed problematic for a number of on an inventory of causes, equivalent to by presenting an inaccurate or demeaning portrayal of Native People or celebrating folks with connections to slavery, genocide or racist acts.

Apart from 5 statues of Lincoln, others on the checklist embody the Normal John Logan Monument in Grant Park; the Normal Philip Henry Sheridan Monument at Belmont and Lake Shore Drive; a statue of Benjamin Franklin in Lincoln Park; the Haymarket Riot Monument/ Police Memorial at 1300 W. Jackson Blvd; the Italo Balbo Monument in Burnham Park; and the Jean Baptiste Beaubien plaque on the Chicago Cultural Middle.

(Supply: Solar-Instances Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Solar-Instances 2022.)

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