Metro Parks is in the early stages of exploring the process of moving a Confederate monument to another section of Centennial Park.
The board is scheduled discuss the issue at its Aug. 6 meeting.
An item on the agenda states Metro Parks staff is requesting guidance from the Parks Board about starting the process for removal or relocation of the Confederate Private Monument, which was vandalized last month.
Jackie Jones, the spokeswoman for Metro Parks, told WPLN in an email the staff is “looking for direction from the board.”
Jones says the discussion was prompted by a pair of factors.
“We’re entering into Phase 2 of the redesign of Centennial Park,” Jones said. “Also over the course of the years, we’ve had some concerns about the monument.”
A 2015 master plan for Centennial Park outlines the idea of relocating a trio of Civil War monuments — including the Confederate private — to a different section of the park.
That area, known as Flagpole Hill, is on the outskirts of the park, separated by 31st Avenue North. The hill was a strategic landform during the war. The plan suggests relocating the dog parks that are there now to create a landscaped area that interprets the site's role in the Civil War.
Still, for some, the agenda item comes as a surprise.
WPLN spoke to a board member, others associated with Centennial Park, and members of the Metro Council who serve on a parks committee — most of whom said they learned about the discussions when contacted by WPLN.
According to a 2017 Metro Arts report on sculptures and monuments across the city, the Confederate Private Monument is in poor condition.
But the commission ranked repairs below other projects.
“The Confederate Private Monument is not considered a priority at this time in light of the current national conversations on Civil War monuments,” the report read.
The Confederate Private Monument was commissioned in 1902 and its cornerstone was placed in 1904, during a reunion in Nashville of the Confederate army, the report states. It was dedicated in 1909.
Monique Odom, the director of Metro Parks, did not respond to WPLN’s request for comment.
She's scheduled to discuss the plan in two venues on Tuesday: at the Parks Board meeting and at a question-and-answer session later that day with the Metro Council’s Parks, Library and Arts Committee.