BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – The Confederate monument in front of the Botetourt County Courthouse is likely to be on the move and should end up in one of two places. That is what the Committee on Monuments and Memorials in Botetourt County is set to recommend to the Board of Supervisors next month.
In mid-2020, county leaders set their eyes on the monument and formed the committee. Board of Supervisors member Steve Clinton is a member and said early on their decision was clear.
“Probably by the second meeting we had decided that number one we weren’t going to demolish it and number two we weren’t going to leave it where it is, so we ended up in the middle,” Clinton said.
They’ve narrowed down the new possible location to two sites. The first would be on a piece of county-owned property adjacent to Route 220 on the extreme southern end of Fincastle. The other would be somewhere in the historic court square, either next to the old jail or possibly somewhere else.
Clinton added that the courthouse is set for renovation and there are opportunities to make the two co-exist, but its current location is not suitable.
“Having that monument for all of its value, having that monument in front of the halls of justice if you will, the circuit court probably doesn’t send the right signal going forward,” Clinton said.
The committee is made up of local stakeholders, including members of veterans groups associated with the Civil War, as well as others including even local high school students. Beth Leffel represents the county’s historical society and said they’ve worked hard to make sure all voices are heard.
“We’re interested in preserving the history, we’re interested in promoting education and allowing people to learn about history, understand the context,” Leffel said. “Really trying to get an idea from all our peer groups of the feelings of the citizens on both sides of the monument issue.”
The committee will meet next week to help come up with the final non-binding recommendation to make to the board in January.
Clinton said they’ll take it from there.
“I’m sure the recommendation will have a great deal of influence on what the board decides, but the final decision is in the hands of the board of supervisors,” Clinton said.