Richmond’s AP Hill statue poses safety threat, neighbors say

Posted at 7:06 AM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 07:07:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The future of Richmond’s last standing Confederate monument will be discussed inside of a courtroom on Thursday morning.

The case between city officials and relatives of the Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill will be heard at 10 a.m. in Richmond Circuit Court. The Aug. 30 hearing was continued until Sept. 29.

The statue has stood in the middle of Hermitage and Laburnum roads on the city's Northside for more than 130 years.

Both sides have agreed that Hill’s remains inside the statue would be transferred to a Culpeper cemetery, according to the Richmond Free Press.

However, the city wants the statue turned over to the Black History Museum that currently possesses the city’s other removed Confederate monuments.

Hill’s relatives instead, according to the paper, want the city to pay for the statue to be set up in a place of their choosing.

Robert Rolfe, the attorney representing the Hill family, declined to comment for this report.

Rich Souser is an historian who has studied the history of this statue. He has also called the neighboring Bellevue area home for 36 years.

“As a mausoleum, the law seems to indicate that the city's plan to separate the statue part from the rest of the grave would not be legal,” Souser explained. “So that may be a losing strategy for the city. But again, with any court issue, nobody knows until the judge actually looks at it.”

While some believed the Confederate monuments symbolize “southern heritage” and their history, others like Liz Pettit said the statue represents white supremacy.

“I bike and walk a lot in this area. I have a young daughter who's going to be going to Holton [Elementary School]. I also just don't want my child seeing this every day in her life. It's not the kind of icon I want her to see as part of our community,” Pettit explained. “It's also really dangerous to drive ride and bike through this intersection because people don't know how to manage the traffic circle.”

Tara FitzPatrick serves at the Richmond Public Schools Safe Routes to Schools coordinator at Holton Elementary that borders the statue.

The statue makes morning and afternoon commutes for students and families that much harder, she said.

“There is really not a great traffic pattern here because you have a mixture of a traffic circle with a four-way intersection that has eight lanes of traffic,” FitzPatrick stated. “Nobody knows when it's their turn to turn. The stoplights or all incredibly outdated. You know, there's just a lot of problems here.”

According to DMV's crash locator map, the intersection saw 23 crashes in 2019, 17 in 2020 and 12 in 2021.

City officials said in February the intersection will be paved over with asphalt.



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