Pueblo hiring mediator to find solution amid Christopher Columbus statue protests
PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The city of Pueblo is in the process of hiring a mediator to help bring a resolution to the Christopher Columbus statue protests.
Over the last seven weeks, protesters have gathered around the statue on Abriendo Avenue across from the Rawlings Library, as well as some protests outside the Pueblo Police Department. Protesters have been demanding change in law enforcement across the country after the death of George Floyd.
Some local protesters want the statue removed, and some want it to stay. This has cost the city thousands of dollars in overtime for police and getting barricades.
Mayor Nick Gradisar told 11 News, “Altogether with the initial costs for overtime and for police officers to be present and renting barricades, the cost has been about $65,000 to date.”
The Sons of Italy gifted the statue to the city in 1905, and they want the statue to stay in the city. Some other protesters suggest the statue should be taken down and put into a museum. That’s where potential mediator, Frank Galvez, who was born and raised in Pueblo, comes into play.
The mayor is in the process of hiring Galvez because he knows the history the city holds and the multiple cultures represented in Pueblo.
The city council approved the ordinance in its first reading and will move into the next reading in two weeks for the final vote.
Gradisar says no matter the outcome, he plans to sign his contract.
“I sort of view this as an emergency situation that we need to move quickly on so that we can get him involved and get the parties together as quickly as possible.”
Galvez will meet with both sides Aug. 8 and 9 in hopes of coming to a resolution that makes both sides happy.
We reached out to the Sons of Italy and they tell 11 News they have no comment on the matter.
To read the proposed ordinance of the mediation contract approved by city council, click here.
We will update this article as more information becomes available.
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