CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- After almost a year of debates, the fate of the Robert E. Lee monument came down to one city councilman. When it came time to vote last week, he abstained, but now he's made up his mind.
"On Feb. 6, the motion to move the monument will be made again," said Charlottesville City Councilman Bob Fenwick. "I will support that motion with a yes vote."
At a press conference on Thursday at City Space, Fenwick announced his long overdue decision on whether or not the city should remove or keep the monument at Lee Park. He says he stalled his vote because he was concerned about the city budget and the protection of neighborhoods.
"I tried to educate the community as best I could on the cost of removing the statue, the cost of potential litigation, what effect political campaigns may have on this," said Fenwick. "There is a lot of that's unknown. We have a lot of work to do."
He says he decided to vote to remove the statue because he wants to represent the will of the people who find the statue offensive. Fenwick says he understands that his decision may come with some backlash.
"I've been under fire before. I've been under worse than that. That's part of the job," he said.
He says he kept this decision secret from other council members.
"Nobody knew about this. I didn't want it to be a circus," stated Fenwick. "That may be the wrong word to use, but I wanted it to be business like and focused."
It's unclear whether the city can legally remove the statue. There's a state law that can be interpreted in different ways. Some say no monuments can be moved. Others say the law only applies to recent monuments.