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Committee finds options for new monument site

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The group working to relocate the Confederate monuments at the county courthouse has found a few more options for a new location, but is still raising funds and searching for more bids to choose from for the work to move the monuments.

After a month of debate this summer about two monuments with ties to the Confederacy—an obelisk monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers of Bastrop County and a memorial to Major Joseph Sayers—located on the Bastrop County Courthouse lawn, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court approved their relocation in July. During a recent regular meeting on October 26, the court heard an update from the co-chairs of the committee tasked with finding a new home for the monuments and raising the funds to do so. 

First, co-chair Cheryl Lee gave an update on the search for a new site for the monuments. She said the committee has found five possible locations. 

One of those options is Mayfest Park in Bastrop. During the previous meeting on October 13, the court approved a letter of intent to be sent to the Bastrop City Council in order to begin the discussion about potentially moving the monuments to the city’s park.

In addition, a number of private property owners, located on FM 812, FM 304 and FM 969, have reached out with interest in taking the monuments. Lee said the committee had a meeting scheduled with the property owners on FM 969 last week. 

Lee also mentioned a private cemetery in San Antonio where the monuments could be moved.

“I think we have enough viable options within the county at this point to keep the monuments in the county,” she said.

Lee also told the court that there are options for placing the Sayers monument at a different location, if needed.

Next, co-chair Sharah Johnson gave an update on the estimated cost of relocating the monuments. The committee received a bid from Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop for just under $50,000 with a 60-day expiration date. 

“We'll need to make a decision on that pretty soon,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Jimmy Crouch from Bastrop-based Crouch Construction has been helping the committee search for more bids; he received a bid from a monument expert for $89,500. This cost only covers the cost of disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the obelisk monument, not any framework or transportation. 

Johnson said their fundraising goal is still $50,000, because the committee expects that Deep in the Heart Art Foundry will be the best option for a contractor unless a better bid is found. So far, the committee has raised over $15,500.

“We are continuing to reach out to community members, individuals, businesses, corporations, and we have contacted a private foundation,” Johnson said. “We're working hard to raise the money.”

Lee said she is optimistic that she and Johnson will be able to bring recommendations to the commissioners’ court in November, both regarding a new location for the monuments and a bid for their relocation.

The committee will share their next update with the commissioners’ court during the next meeting on November 23.