New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | November 24, 2020

Decision to remove Confederate monument in Charles City heads to ballot

By Robb Johnson | July 29, 2020 12:00 pm

The decision to remove a Confederate monument in Charles City will be in the hands of citizens at the November ballot.
Charles City’s Board of Supervisors elected to send the issue to the referendum at their Tuesday night meeting after much discussion.

The issue of the controversial monument that sits in front of Charles City’s Historic Courthouse arose at the board’s regular June meeting. With protesters continuing to vandalize and pull down the monuments, supervisors decided to address the issue at its forefront. At that meeting, County Administrator Michelle Johnson proposed forming a committee to decide the fate of the monument. However, some county residents took issue with that choice, as the committee only represented a select few and not the county as a whole.
While the board does not need citizen approval to remove the statue from its current location, discussion emerged after Johnson presented a recommendation to remove it Tuesday night due to the escalation of protesters.

District 3 representative Lewis Black III commented that he wants the community to heal first and reflect before addressing the issue. He added that the $60,000 price tag to remove and relocate the statue could be spent elsewhere.

Johnson will continue to form a committee of different cultures to address the issue. The committee is expected to be made up of members of every culture and race within the county.

In another topic addressed by county leaders, a town hall meeting on broadband in the county will take place on Aug. 17.

“While the county and this board is doing a great job, these past five years have been a failure,” said District 2 board member and chairman Bill Coada. “We are light years ahead of New Kent when it comes to our broadband potential and we need to make things crystal clear about what we are doing.”

The issue of broadband has been a lingering one since 2014. After receiving a grant of $600,000 to assist businesses in November of that year, plans were to utilize that fiber to provide Internet access to citizens through the airway.

But numerous headaches and hiccups along the way forced county leaders to reverse action, hitting the restart button. Original plan concepts and designs had to be reconfigured, and the process has continuously frustrated county citizens. Earlier this year, the county received a grant for nearly $4 million from the state to provide broadband to the rural area. Those negotiations are continuously ongoing, with the expectation that the project will begin by the end of this year.

In other Charles City Board of Supervisors matters:

–Struck down a proposed amendment that would see the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Route 5 (John Tyler Memorial Highway) and Route 106 (Roxbury Road). The issue had first appeared during the July 2018 meeting of county leaders due to the number of accidents that had taken place near that intersection, despite a blinking light. However, the issue was laid to rest after farmers raised concerns of how the roundabout would affect farming equipment.