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Board of Commissioners Call Special Meeting for Monday to Vote on Relocation of Confederate Monument

GASTONIA, N.C. – The Gaston County Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting on Monday, August 3 to vote on a possible relocation of the Confederate monument outside the Gaston County courthouse.

The meeting is set for 7:45 p.m. at the Harley B. Gaston Public Forum at the Gaston County Courthouse, 325 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Gastonia. The meeting will be livestreamed on the County’s website, GastonGov.com, as well as broadcasted on the Gaston County Government Access Channel, which is available to Spectrum and AT&T U-Verse subscribers.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, a majority of the board directed County Attorney Jonathan Sink to seek out whether a local bill could be offered up in the General Assembly which would allow Gaston County residents the opportunity to vote on the matter. Since that meeting, the County has heard back that would not occur.

Board Chairman Tracy Philbeck and Commissioner Allen Fraley are now co-sponsoring a resolution that would gift the monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for relocation to private property.

In its place, the County will place a monument to all Gaston County soldiers who have died in the line of duty.

Philbeck said County leaders have heard from individuals on both sides of this issue, and believes the proposal to donate the statue is the best path forward to honor the wishes of both groups.

“We value and cherish our rich history, just as we value our strong County today, with a focus and a commitment centered entirely on our people,” Philbeck said. “We are pleased to come to a resolution of this issue while preserving not only the monument, but our unity as a Gaston people.”

The SCV will have six months to find a new location for the monument – one that will allow for those in the public that wish to view it to continue to have access to the monument. The County, per the proposed agreement, would pay for the costs of the monument’s relocation.

At the direction of the board chairman, comments from members of the public will be limited to 2 minutes per speaker; however, all who wish to speak on the subject will be allowed to do so.

Citizens must sign up in person, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Overflow rooms, due to social distancing, will hold a total of 120 individuals, while the public forum will seat 43 individuals.

Anyone attending the meeting will be required to answer three health screening questions, undergo a temperature screening and will be required to wear a face covering. Those with temperatures above 100.4 degrees will not be admitted. This is the same screening process currently in place for employees at county facilities.

 

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