The council approved the creation of the ad hoc advisory board to review and provide a final recommendation regarding the potential removal of the statue at is July 28 meeting. The purpose of the advisory board is to weigh the context, appropriateness and relevancy of the Throckmorton statue on city-owned property and provide thorough and balanced research to the city council, according to meeting documents.
The task force will consist of 11 members appointed by the city council and be comprised of members of other city boards and committees, staff said. The team will meet at least three times to discuss the statue and consider options regarding the statue, including moving it somewhere else or adding additional signage.
City staff addressed at a July 7 meeting that the old Collin Courthouse is a State Antiquities Landmark and that a permit needs to be filed with the Texas Historical Commission for them to review and approve potential changes to the Throckmorton statue on that property. Mayor George Fuller reiterated this at the July 28 meeting.
In addition to the Throckmorton statue, the advisory board could engage in discussions and give feedback to council regarding other historical and cultural items in the city, according to meeting documents. The advisory board will present any of its recommendations to council for action.
At the meeting Fuller said he believed people needed to stop “yelling past each other” and that he wanted the whole community to understand the reason behind whatever decision is made, whether the statue stays or is removed.
“The idea of the committee is to have open, public hearings,” he said.
He approved of staff’s proposal for the committee, but wanted to reduce the timeline attached to the presentation. The initial presentation made July 21 has the committee bringing a recommendation back in December.
When asked about the earliest time frame to receive a recommendation, City Manager Paul Grimes said since many people are on vacation through August, it would not be realistic to set a deadline before Oct. 6, and this date should be what the advisory board should aim for. The mayor ultimately agreed.
Council member La’Shadion Shemwell opposed the creation of the advisory board. He said inviting the whole city to address the issue would result in the Black population in the city to be overwhelmed by the city’s white voices and said the city should not wait for an advisory board’s recommendation to take the statue down.
The council voted 6-1 to form the committee, with Shemwell opposing. The council will meet again on Aug. 4.