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Monument move likely to be completed in August

The contractor for the relocation of the City of Franklin’s Confederate monument expects the move to be completed on a single day in August.

The monument, which has stood in Memorial Park between Clay Street and Meadow Lane for more than 50 years, was set to be removed June 26 and reassembled July 10 in nearby Poplar Spring Cemetery before rain on June 25 and 26 prevented the removal from happening.

The contractor for the relocation is Hampton Roads Crane & Rigging Company, which submitted a bid of around $35,000, and Jim Speegle is the company’s president.

“No date has been set for that yet,” Speegle said in reference to the monument move. “We’re going to wait for some good weather, and then we’re going to make a ‘snapshot call’ when we’re going to go up there. The day before, we’ll call (the City of Franklin) up and say we’re going to be up there the next day.”

Originally, the monument’s removal and reassembly had been planned as a two-day process.

“Now we’re going to try to do it in one day,” Speegle said. “It’s probably going to happen in August.”

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt echoed some of Speegle’s thoughts when explaining the delay in rescheduling the relocation, stating, “We are waiting on the weather to break. (We were) hesitant to reschedule it with (Tropical Storm) Elsa coming.”

The City Council voted 6-1 on Sept. 14, 2020, to relocate the Confederate monument from the park to the cemetery.

As The Tidewater News has previously reported, city staff demolished a gazebo in the cemetery and planned to build a concrete pad in its place large enough to accommodate the monument. 

Jarratt, who has noted there will be a few additional expenses in connection with the pad, said on July 13 that the pad was poured weeks ago.

The council had allocated $60,000 as a budget for the relocation project.