Above: See NBC4’s original coverage of the Christopher Columbus statue being removed near city hall.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A piece of legislation put on the Columbus City Council’s desk Monday evening weighed bringing the namesake Christopher Columbus statue out of storage.
Initially removed in 2020 from city hall at Mayor Andrew Ginther’s request, he then left the statue’s fate to the Columbus Art Commission, a division of the city’s Department of Development. That later arrived in the form of Ordinance 2179-2022, which would give a $253,000 contract to a consultant, Designing Local Ltd. The company would handle “public education, and facilitating the community in public discussion about the potential re-installation of the Christopher Columbus statue to a public location.”
When NBC4 reached out to the Columbus Department of Development about the ordinance, a spokesman said neither it nor Designing Local had any specific place in mind for where the Christopher Columbus statue would go. However, he did say that they both knew for sure that the statue is not going back to city hall. The money going to Designing Local would come from the General Fund budget from the Department of Development’s Planning Division, according to the ordinance text.
The plan laid out in the ordinance won’t see action anytime soon, however. When City Councilman Nicholas Bankston turned attention toward the legislation during the meeting, he first noted that many residents sent in comments about the idea of bringing the statue back.
“Given the response we received from the community both for and against, I would like to motion to table this ordinance indefinitely,” Bankston said. “I understand that the handling of the Christopher Columbus statue is a difficult subject and I believe we can have a thoughtful conversation about what needs to be done with the statue.”
Bankston went further and said the ordinance never had any intention of bringing the statue back to any city property. The council granted Bankston’s motion to table the ordinance indefinitely, and as of Tuesday, there was no set date in the city council records for when it could be brought up again.
The city hall statue wasn’t the only one removed in Columbus. One month before crews took that one down, Columbus State Community College also got rid of its statue of the explorer. One last statue remains on public display at the Ohio Statehouse, which has no intention of letting it go anywhere soon. The Capital Square Review and Advisory Board, which picks what statues come and go at the building, created a new rule in 2021 that requires a five-year process to remove a permanent statue there. The rule matches the same amount of time it takes to permit a new statue to go up as well.