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City Plan To Remove Castleman Statue Hits Snag After Committee Vote

Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

In August 2018, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the city would move the controversial statue of John Breckinridge Castleman. This came after over a year of deliberation, as well as newly-proposed criteria for local public art.

But at a meeting on Wednesday, Fischer’s plan hit a snag.

The Castleman statue is located within a historic preservation district, which means that the proposal for removal actually has to be approved by the six-member Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee.

When the measure came up for a vote, the result was a 3-to-3 tie. Michael Gross, the committee's chairman, asked the group whether they wanted to reconsider.

“Do we have anyone who has changed their mind or do we want this tie to be the final resting place for the committee and have the city push it up?" Gross asked.

Committee members did not reconsider their positions, and without a majority vote, the motion to remove the statue failed.

The city now has the option to appeal this decision in front of the Louisville Landmarks commission. City officials haven’t yet said what their next steps will be.

Castleman is a controversial figure. Some cite his involvement in the Confederate Army as a reason for the statue’s removal, while other point to his contribution to the city’s parks system as a justification for it to stay in place.

However, at Wednesday’s meeting, only one attendee spoke in favor of removing the statue. About a dozen spoke in favor of keeping it in place or providing additional context on signage nearby.