CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The future of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue now lies in the hands of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

This comes after the Charlottesville City Council granted the school the Confederate statue on Tuesday after midnight.

The center's executive director, Andrea Douglas, said they plan to melt the statue by February of 2022.

"It's a moral decision for us. We don't want to take our trauma and move it to another community," she said.

Douglas said a new chapter will begin right after the new year and there's a future for the statue, just in a different form.

"We are going to transform our trauma into something creative, something beautiful, that is important, and that is highly representative of the ideals of Charlottesville," she said.

Douglas is calling on the community for ideas.

"It's the community that's going to decide what that object will look like, and whatever form it takes. We're not describing or prescribing any of this, we're just facilitating it," she said.

Local activist Jalane Schmidt said the intent isn't to erase history.

"History and memory are two different things. We're not forgetting history. What we're doing is re-framing it," Schmidt said.

Douglas said it's impossible to erase history.

"We're not trying to erase history. That's impossible. History is not made in the past, history is made now for the future,” Douglas said.

However, this plan will not come cheap.

"What we are projecting for the overall cost of the project is $1.1 million from start to finish," Douglas said.

She says the center has already raised $590,000 from donors such as Virginia Humanities.

Douglas wouldn’t say with whom the center is partnering to melt the monument.

The school is accepting monetary donations for the process. Click here for more information.