Confederate monument in Leonard Park

A Confederate monument stands at Leonard Park, 1000 W. California St.

Gainesville Mayor Jim Goldsworthy invites people to come out Monday, Aug. 10, and talk about the Confederate monument at Leonard Park and the state of the community.

The 6 p.m. meeting will be at the Gainesville Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St., according to a press release issued by the city Friday, Aug. 7.

“This will be a friendly and open discussion and will not permit yelling or uncivil behavior,” the release states.

Goldsworthy mentioned his dislike of ongoing protests, which took place at the Confederate monument on the grounds of the Cooke County Courthouse and not at the monument at Leonard Park, 1000 W. California St, during a city council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4. He also made the announcement of hosting Monday's public discussion at that meeting.

On Tuesday, July 14, members of the Gainesville City Council unanimously agreed during a specially called meeting to remove the more than 100-year-old Confederate monument at the park.

The statute is inscribed with “Our heroes” and “Confederate.” It was erected Feb. 15, 1908, by the Gainesville-based Lou Dougherty Chapter No. 366 Daughters of the Confederacy, according to the inscription.

The resolution passed by council last month allowed City Manager Barry Sullivan to come up with an agreement to give the Confederate monument to the United Daughters of the Confederacy to maintain and preserve the statue and its historical value in another location.

During the July 14 meeting, Sullivan told council there is no record in meeting minutes from the early 1900s that indicates the city owns the statue.

Sullivan told the Register Thursday, Aug. 6, that he has sent the UDC a contract that he thinks will be the final draft.

“Once they agree, I will sign the contract,” he said. “The contract calls for Morton Museum to get the first right of refusal to take the monument.”

He said the UDC had been working with Grayson County Frontier Village in Denison to place the statue there. However, that deal did not work out, Sullivan said Thursday.

The city is making a deal with the UDC and the UDC is then making the final arrangements with someone to take the monument, according to Sullivan.

On Tuesday, Goldsworthy said the Aug. 10 meeting will discuss what will become of the area where the statue is being removed. He also mentioned he would like to see an American flag with hands in different skin tones around the flag in its place. Whatever is put there will be privately funded, he said.

First State Bank CEO Ryan Morris announced at Tuesday's council meeting he was pledging $15,000 toward a replacement.

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