Removal of Dallas Confederate monuments expected to cost $1.8M

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The Dallas mayor and mayor pro-tem say the symbols of Confederacy in Dallas will come down, which is a much more direct message than last week.

The preliminary cost estimate just to take the statues down is now estimated to cost $1.8 million. It all comes after a tense protest by demonstrators lobbying for their removal.

Since the rally over the weekend, there has been an increased sense of urgency in getting the monuments removed. But the mayor pro tem warns there is a difference between a statue and a monument.

A monument requires cranes and excavation to be removed, and that could cost millions. Now, a task force is charged with figuring out what to do with the monuments. They are looking for a solution to a problem faced by cities across the country.

The Dallas City Council has not yet voted to remove its two Confederate monuments, but Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway says there's no doubt they're coming down.

Within hours Saturday, Mayor Mike Rawlings came out more strongly on the issue. At first, he posted to Facebook that the task force would make a recommendation on what to do with the monuments by October. He then posted, "Our city listened to those that spoke… We will take these statues down and we will do so soon."

With Mayor Rawlings out of town on Monday, Caraway spoke on the city's behalf. He says according to a memo from city staff, the estimated costs for the monuments' removal is $1.8 million.

It would cost $600,000 to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee and $1.2 million to remove the monument at Pioneer Park Cemetery.

“Who's going to take them down? Where are they going to go?” Caraway asked. “And most of all, who is going to pay for them?”

Those questions are now posed to a task force of Dallas citizens, appointed by the city council on Monday. Caraway tapped Dallas photographer and former photojournalist Jesse Hornbuckle.

“I would love for Dallas to be the example for how to do it right,” Hornbuckle said. “What I'm looking for is the guidance from the people in the city. I think that's where we make the big mistake is not including people within the city.”

Destroying the monuments is not an option for the city.

“You could take a wrecking ball and destroy it. We're not going to destroy history,” Caraway said. “If it was a simple wave of the magic wand, I'd have played Bewitched and wiggle my nose and they'd be gone. But where are they going? That's another fight.”

Caraway believes removing the monuments, storing them and relocating them could cost a total of $4 million. He expects the council to vote to remove the monuments September 27 and expects a task force recommendation on what to do with them as early as October 3.