RICHMOND, Virginia, USA (AP) – Virginia authorities are removing a pedestal on which a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee perched.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced the measure Sunday, under which the plinth in Richmond will be removed.
The announcement reverses an earlier decision from September, when the statue was removed but the Democratic governor declared the 40-foot (12-meter) pedestal would remain.
The governor also announced that the road island where the statue was, in the middle of a vehicular ring, will be transferred to the municipality of Richmond. The move comes a month before Northam leaves office and Republican Glenn Youngkin, who is less enthusiastic about the removal of Confederate statues, takes over as governor of the state.
“It was important that we do it now, before leaving the administration,” said Alena Yarmosky, a Northam spokeswoman.
The delivery of the lands, which were given to the state in the 19th century, was at the request of the municipality so that the land remains in local hands, Yarmosky explained. The fact that the land was under state administration had created bureaucratic complications regarding maintenance and security, he added.
Preliminary work for the removal of the pedestal is anticipated to begin on Monday and the project will be almost ready by December 31, according to a statement.