CREWE, Va. (WRIC) — The mayor of Crewe, a small town in Virginia, said Thursday that he no longer wants Richmond’s Confederate monuments in order to boost tourism after receiving feedback “both for and against the concept.”
Mayor Greg Eanes withdrew a request he made Wednesday asking Gov. Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney for the city’s Confederate statues. The request was made after news broke that the governor was planning on having the Robert E. Lee statue removed and Stoney was expected to propose an ordinance in July to rid Monument Avenue of all Confederate monuments.
“Since that request has become public knowledge,” Eanes said in a statement, “I have received phone calls and e-mail both for and against the concept, from people I respect, of using these monuments to aid tourism infrastructure. Taking into strong consideration the many voices I have heard I have made the decision to withdraw the request.”
Word spread around the town like wildfire after the request was initially announced, drawing protests from residents and local leaders like Town Councilperson Wendy Bowen.
“This letter was sent without my knowledge,” Bowen told 8News.
Eanes said the monuments illustrate historical context and that Civil War tourism generates money.
“I just wanted to make sure we had our hand in the pot to try and get them,” the mayor told 8News before withdrawing his request. “We don’t have a big ball of yarn. We really need something that will attract a lot of folks to come in and make Crewe a destination point.”
Nottoway County Board of Supervisors Helen Simmons and John Roark said Eanes never consulted the town or county’s leaders before offering to take Richmond’s statues. They were alongside a group of residents Thursday who gathered in the town park to say they don’t want them.
“I was shocked, surprised, hurt,” Simmons said. “Confederate statues, that’s something we don’t need.”
“I want him to resign immediately,” Roark told 8News before Eanes withdrew the request. “I think what he has done is disgraceful.”
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