Push in Lakeland to preserve all historic statues

Hands off the statues - that's what the head of the historical society in Polk County is saying. He wants a 107 year old Confederate monument to stay, regardless of which way the political wind is blowing.

“Those are important,” argues David Brewer, president of the Polk County Historical Society, “they put us in touch with our past, even that part of our past that we may not care for so much.”

At this morning's Lakeland Commission meeting, Brewer proposed a law protecting monuments to soldiers and first responders. Including statues honoring the Confederacy, like the one in downtown Lakeland. The proposed ordinance states that these monuments can't be moved, renamed or changed without having many hearings.

“That's where this whole thing came from,” Brewer says, “it was just asking for this cooling-off period.”

Commissioners didn't buy it. “When the citizens of this city decide it's time to move it, or maybe they never will, it's the citizens' decision what to do with that monument,” said Don Selvage, a Lakeland City Commissioner.

None of the people we spoke with had a problem with the confederate statues.

“Lakeland's already a historic area and I think they should leave things the way they are, no need to change them,” said Jered Youngblood, a lifelong Lakeland resident, “I don't think anyone's offended by the statue being there.”

“They should be protected and they should be left where they are,” said Lakeland resident Leonard Lopez.

The city commissioners ended up rejecting the proposal. After today's meeting, Brewer says they have no plans to reintroduce the ordinance another time.