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Albemarle spent more than $100,000 for statue removal, related event

Albemarle County spent about $106,000 to remove its Confederate statue and hold an event around the statue’s eviction.

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Sept. 12 removal of the “At Ready” soldier statue, its base, two cannons, a pile of cannonballs and the lights around it cost the county about $60,800, but there were additional costs for staff overtime, barricades and other items for the event.

The county stayed under its budget of $130,000, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 19, and came from its reserve for contingencies.

Albemarle encouraged those who were interested in watching the removal not to come to downtown Charlottesville, but to instead watch over a livestream due to the county and city’s COVID ordinances, which prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people. The county paid Spectrum Integrators $12,909 to produce and film the live event.

Albemarle spokeswoman Emily Kilroy said the county started planning for the event in January, but realized over the summer that it would need to be livestreamed due to the pandemic.

“It was an investment in our public safety to have a high-quality experience in not coming to Court Square,” she said.

Despite road and sidewalk closures, the sidewalk along the south of East Jefferson Street remained open to the public, and more than 100 people watched the removal in person.

At a board meeting in September, Supervisor Ann H. Mallek said she was appreciative of the ability to see the removal as if she were there.

“There were many who would have come down to watch but were told not to and they were a little annoyed to see all of these people who then were allowed to be on the sidewalk,” she said. “So a lesson learned for sharing with other communities is, if you’re going to have rules, it’s good to follow them, and that expectations are followed so there aren’t some for some people and some rules for other people.”

The county also spent $2,000 on photography and $3,700 on videography for the event. The videography cost will come out of the county’s Communications and Public Engagement office budget.

“They did picture-in-picture during parts of the removal, especially as they got into the base, and they played pre-recorded content that was a combination of some video files that we already had, because they were from virtual events that were recorded … and then also there was some interviews with community members and subject matter experts on various aspects of the statue and its history,” Kilroy said.

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, which the county selected to receive the statue and its accessories, took the statue from the site to a battlefield in the Shenandoah Valley at no cost to the county. TEAL Construction was paid $60,100 for all labor, supervision, equipment, tools, materials and incidentals to disassemble and remove the statue, base and accoutrements from the site. The company was paid an additional $722.45 to remove the lights around the statue.

Ahead of the removal, a structural engineering assessment was completed by Engineering Solutions & Construction Management for $1,360.

Albemarle police were paid $10,642.50 for 193.50 hours of work the day of the removal. Three officers from the county Sheriff’s Office were paid a total of $852.50 for 15.5 hours of security.

The county spent $263.76 on 24 hard hats for county staff and observers at the construction site for the removal and about $47.50 on other miscellaneous items from Lowe’s.

Albemarle paid Charlottesville $2,458 to use some of its traffic cones, water-filled barriers and barricades around the streets for the removal. It also paid the city $3,780 for the work of a five-person maintenance crew, $1,441.61 for dump trucks and $145.10 for equipment.

Approximately $4,425 was paid by the county to Hurricane Fence Co. to rent 1,170 feet of barricades for the event.

About $900.50 was spent on water and lunch for the event.

The county paid $301.08 for road closure mailings and printings. Albemarle received road, sidewalk and street parking closure permits from Charlottesville, which could have cost the county around $1,800, but the fees were waived at the discretion of then-City Manager Tarron Richardson, according to city spokesman Brian Wheeler.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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