Council gets a response of Forrest monument

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wes Kelly, who represents KTK Mining of Virginia in a lawsuit against the city of Selma, said he wants to hold a private meeting with city officials in order to come to a compromise regarding the placement of the Gen. Nathan B. Forrest Monument in Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie outlined four options in early April to help dispel the pending litigation between the city of Selma and KTK Mining of Virginia, the construction company contracted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Friends of Forrest to move and expand a monument to Gen. Nathan B. Forrest and make handicap accessible modifications to an existing Confederate Monument in the same area of Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Bowie outlined the options in a letter to Kelly.

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Kelly responded to the letter on April 12, telling Bowie he preferred the settlement negotiations and discussions, “be conducted in private in the hope that the parties might freely and openly discuss their respective positions in a frank but amiable manner,” with the end goal being to resolve the controversy.

Bowie said a date for the meeting has not yet been decided, but the meeting would most likely consist of Selma Mayor George Evans, Selma City Attorney Jimmy Nunn, Kelly and himself.

“Basically, the whole point to this is so hopefully we can come to a compromise for the betterment of the city,” Bowie said. “In my opinion it has just been a lot of back and forth with opposing views and everyone is entitled to their views, but I think it’s about time to just put this thing to rest.”

The options Bowie outlined included leaving the monument in Confederate Circle in the cemetery, but allowing other monuments to be placed there by any other organization; moving the monument to Riverside Park where the Battle of Selma is held each year; letting the construction continue on as planned; or simply wait for the court case in September in Mobile to determine who rightfully owns Confederate Circle — the city or the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Part of the deal is these options will be at the UDC’s expense and they will drop the lawsuit if a compromise is reached.

In Kelly’s response he thanked Bowie for his spirit of compromise.

KTK Mining of Virginia has not yet made public their preference on which option they would like to move forward with and neither has the city. In fact, Bowie said no council members have shared with him their preference of options either.