City to ask art commission to approve removal of Columbus statue in South Philadelphia, mayor says

The city will ask the Philadelphia Art Commission on July 22 to approve the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philly, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Wednesday.

"In recent weeks, clashes between those individuals who support the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza and those who are distressed by its existence have deteriorated to a concerning public safety situation. It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue," the mayor wrote.

The mayor added the city is committed to finding a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture, while respecting the histories and circumstances of others that come from different backgrounds. 

The city will allow for public input through written submissions due by Tuesday, July 21. The public will also have the opportunity to testify at the art commission meeting.

Earlier this month, Kenney asked the public art director to initiate the appropriate process through the Philadelphia Art Commission. The statue was boxed up by the city as officials and partners from the Philadelphia Art Commission decided its fate.

The base of a second monument honoring Christopher Columbus is being hidden from view while its future is debated.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation said the monument at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River marked the 500th anniversary of the explorer's first voyage, but the organization recognizes that it “is a focus of controversy and pain for many."



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