CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The removal process continues Wednesday morning for the portion of the former John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square.
Work to remove the pedestal on Tuesday had to be suspended due to inclement weather and lightning in the area. Crews are expected to resume work first thing on Wednesday morning.
“It’s not just about taking down statues, you know while that is good,” says South Carolina State Representative Wendell Gilliard. “What’s the greater thing now is the changing minds and the heart.”
Activist and leaders like State Representative Gilliard are calling on the city to take a step further investing in economics, housing and economy diversity.
“That’s the challenge that we put out there to all of the elected officials, the mayor and city council because that’s where it starts to create an economic engine,” says Gilliard.
The statue portion of the monument was removed back on June 24th, just hours after Charleston City Council unanimously voted in favor of removing the statue from the park.
Crews spent hours attempting to remove the statue after running into several issues, which included a mechanical issue and the discovery of a bronze mounting bracket filled with epoxy and concrete that ran the entire depth of the pedestal and connected to Calhoun’s feet.
Officials with the City of Charleston say the city council directly authorized Mayor Tecklenburg to contract for the statue’s removal. After they were chosen, the contractors needed to study the base for the best way to remove the column.
Jason Krosberg, Director of Parks for the City of Charleston says crews are jumping into the unknown because of lack of information from construction of the statue.
“We don’t know how this thing is built, we don’t have any drawings for it and we don’t have any as-built drawings,” says Krosberg.
Crews will attach cables to the pedestal and attempt to pull it down with an excavator, if unsuccessful city officials say back-up plans are in place.
“A jackhammer attachment that will go on the excavator and start chipping it down,” says Krosberg.
It is not clear how long it will take to remove the pedestal. Work to remove the rest of the monument is expected to begin on Tuesday.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story noted crews were working to remove the pedestal and base of the monument. Only the pedestal is being removed, the city must still contract to have the base removed.