Franklin Twp. Confederate marker to go back on public display

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Franklin Twp. Confederate marker to go back on public display

Franklin Twp. trustees said the Confederate marker removed in mid-August will be back on public display in the next few weeks.

Trustees President Brian Morris said that after an agreement is finalized, that the 90-year-old marker honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Dixie Highway will be moved to property owned by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 1075 N. Dixie Highway.

Morris told just more than a dozen residents at Thursday’s meeting that the monument will be inside the Franklin city limits and will be 30 to 40 feet away from the roadway on private property.

“It can’t go back to where it was before,” Morris said.

He said he spoke with the family where the township-owned monument was formally located, and after discussing the options, they gave him full support to move it to the new location.

“At the end of the day, they wanted this (controversy) to end,” he said. “… We tried to handle this in a positive manner.”

The marker has been a source of controversy since August when the city of Franklin removed it from the corner of South Dixie Highway and Hamilton-Middletown Road. City officials said the monument was removed because it was within the right of way of Dixie Highway.

Morris said the new location would be lighted and monitored with surveillance cameras. In addition, Morris said the move will not cost taxpayers because most of the services will be donated to move the five-ton stone monument.

While the agreement has not been finalized, Morris said it would be a long-term arrangement, proposed to last for about 100 years.

Trustee Ron Ruppert said the proposed location and arrangements have addressed many of his concerns.

Trustee Beth Callahan was not at Thursday’s meeting.

Resident Donald Whisman said he was happy that the township did something and that the monument was going back on public display.

Another resident, Candi Bales, agreed that she was glad the monument was going to be displayed, but said she did not like the idea that it would be in Franklin.

“People want to see it on township land,” she said.

Another resident Wilma Pennington said she did not want the monument going to the new proposed location, adding that this is something that should be voted on. She also questioned Morris about his recent meeting with Corey Andon of the Dayton group Socialist Alternative to get a better understanding of their position.

Morris said he met with Andon to prevent future problems and that no one gets injured if there was a protest. He said they both agreed that there should not be any threats.

Ruppert said the township was not threatened or made a decision based on any threats.

Bales said she did not believe Morris solved anything and that his intentions were good, but she still felt he threw the township under the bus by meeting with him.

Morris responded by saying he was trying to help and that the township has a lot more important issues to address.

Ruppert said it may not be “a perfect solution” and that he had concerns if the monument was located on residential property. However, the monument is township property and it will be back on public display.

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