It’s going to take more than money to move Old Joe, the statue of a Confederate soldier placed outside the Alachua County administration office.
On Tuesday, county commissioner Robert Hutchinson and resident Faye Williams met with the Matheson History Museum board to discuss the reasons why the commission’s original proposal to donate and move the statue to the museum was rejected.
Rebecca Fitzsimmons, a curator and archivist for the Matheson, said the original proposal was rejected because it put too much responsibility on the museum.
The main concern was cost, Fitzsimmons said. The museum would have been in charge of signage, insurance issues, adding contextual details like other statues and exhibits, and maintaining “very strict security requirements,” such as fencing and video surveillance.
“If we were to take it, we want different aspects of the Civil War that show the climate of politics at the time,” Fitzsimmons said. “Politics would be interesting.”
Since the Matheson rejected the commission’s original proposal, the museum is going to provide a counter proposal, Fitzsimmons said.
County commissioner Ken Cornell said he is in favor of making a space for the statue at its present location and adding another to honor African-American soldiers that fought in the Civil War instead of donating it to the Matheson.
In September, the commission voted against Cornell’s proposal, 3-2.
Instead, they voted, 3-2, in favor of Hutchinson’s proposal to donate Old Joe to the Matheson.
“I’m not into spending a dime of county money on moving it,” Hutchinson said at the meeting.
Fitzsimmons said the situation with Old Joe is a slow moving process and the fate of Old Joe is to still be decided.
“There’s a lot to consider,” she said.