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Allendale leaders hear from public about Confederate statue

No action was taken by the board in regards to the statue's future at Monday's meeting

ALLENDALE, Mich. — After a lengthy public comment section at a board meeting, the Allendale Charter Township board decided not to vote on the future of a Civil War statue in a local park.

The statue at Allendale Community Park, which depicts both Confederate and Union soldiers standing over a Black slave boy, has come under fire in recent weeks following similar protests around the country. Some find the statue offensive and wish to see it removed.

The majority of the people who spoke at Monday's meeting were opposed to the removal of the statue.

"The statue was designed to show the reconciliation between these two brothers who were fighting before," says one Allendale resident who attended the meeting. "This is a new start for them in this country."

Others spoke in favor of removing the statue, saying it was not helpful to a welcoming community that they want Allendale to be for everyone.

"We must not just tell people that we are a welcoming community full of great people and equal opportunity. We must show them," said another speaker. "The statue is placed in an exhibit labeled garden of honor. No matter what the artists's intention was, there should be no honor given to the Confederate side."

The public comment portion of the night was often heated, with some in the audience interrupting others or laughing during their time at the mic. 

At the end of the nearly four-hour meeting, each board member said they were opposed to removing or altering the statue, but did not vote on the matter. They were all open to the idea of adding a plaque or something like it to add better context of the history behind the statue as well as explain the artist's intent.

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