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Roanoke seeks the possibility of removing Confederate monument

ROANOKE, Va. – The vandalism of the Robert E. Lee monument in downtown Roanoke last month has pushed the city to look at the possibility of moving it to another location.

And researching the requirements is the first step in the process.

"I haven't called a major meeting yet because I want to know what it is that we can legally do. And I want to make sure whatever we do is legal. Are there any agreements out there or any Virginia codes that prohibit us from moving it?" said Mayor Sherman Lea. 

"Rest in Power Heather Heyer" was spray painted on the monument in Lee Plaza.

Heyer was a counter protester who was killed August 12 at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Lea believes the protest sparked the conversation about removing the monument in Roanoke.

"Before this occurred, no one even knew where the Robert E. Lee Plaza was," Lea said.  

Lea says the conversation has also spilled over to change the name of several other places named after Stonewall Jackson.
     
There's a middle school, a city park and city library named after the Confederate general.

"That's why I selected city council members to serve on that committee to make sure we are in a position to make changes if needed," Lea said. 

Right now, Lea says the city is at a standstill on each of these topics.

A public hearing on the issue is being planned before a final decision is made.