CORNELIUS, N.C. – A Cornelius developer says he’s willing to foot the bill for removing a Confederate statue, which has stood in Cornelius since 1909.
Jake Palillo says he started talking with members of the monument association that controls the statue about a year ago.
“Someone came to me and said, ‘can you help us remove this statue?” and we’re in the construction and trucking business, and we said ‘yeah, we’ll be happy to help you out,’” Palillo says.
He says talks died down until the association approached him again last week.
“I think that they want to get it down. It’s just a matter of coordinating it, getting it organized,” Palillo says.
The statue, which sits on the grounds of Mount Zion United Methodist Church, has seen protests and has been vandalized in recent years.
“It’s an oppressive symbol that represents fear and hatred, white supremacy, Jim Crow, all of those things just crowd into the picture,” say Sue Rankin-White, with organization Unity in Community.
Rankin-White says she’s hopeful about the developer’s offer.
“Today is sort of a breakthrough and if, in fact, the monumental association would like for Jake to assist them in taking it down, then that’s big movement for us,” she says.
Palillo says he supports removing the monument.
“I think everyone knows what the history was of the past, and I don’t think we need a monument there to kind of remind and insult a segment of the population. It’s just not right,” Palillo says.
If an agreement is worked out, Palillo says his companies would do most of the work.
He estimates it would take $10,000 to $20,000 to remove the statue and take it to a storage location.