COLUMBUS, Ohio — Back in 2020 when the Columbus City Hall Christopher Columbus statue was removed, Mayor Andrew Ginther said it was because the statue did not represent the diverse values of the city. Two years later, Ginther says it was also to preserve the 1995 gift from Genoa, Italy.
“It was really important to us to take the statue down,” he said. “Because if you remember back when the statue was taken down there were a couple places around America where those Columbus statues ended up in rivers, were destroyed, they were vandalized. So, we thought it was important to respect the very generous gift from the people of Genoa and make sure we put it into storage and kept it safe.”
“It hurts me because of what it meant to the Italians,” Landa Masdea Brunetto said.
In July, Brunetto, whose family created the bolts that held the statue in place, talked with 10TV and said she understood the arguments against Columbus, however she pointed to the pride and proud representation it reflected for Italian heritage. She’s now part of the statue committee, which was formed by the Columbus Art Commission, and is comprised of people including Native Americans and Italians to continue pushing the conversation forward.
“The committee continues to look at where we can make sure that the Christopher Columbus statue ends up,” Ginther said.
The July ordinance, which would have allowed the city to enter into a contract of up to $253,000 with Designing Local, Ltd. planning firm to facilitate public discussion about the statue has not been brought back up, according to a city council representative.
The city’s Department of Development Deputy Director, Jennifer Fening, says the proposal from Designing Local is being shared with “additional community stakeholders, to better understand community perspectives on this opportunity, before Council determines if it will be revisited.”
“I want to get it right,” Ginther said. “I don’t think we need to do it quickly. I think we want to do it right.”
If re-installed, the city says it will not be returned to City Hall.