The Throckmorton statue is located downtown in front of the McKinney Performing Arts Center. Throckmorton served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. This summer, the city began conducting research related to the historical context, appropriateness and relevance of the statue in McKinney’s downtown after a number of residents asked for the statue's removal.
The ad hoc advisory board was put together to oversee the research. The board met three times over August and September, and a survey was sent out to receive feedback on what should be done with the statue. Options included leaving the statue in place, adding additional signage, adding additional statues of other important figures, removing and placing in storage, removing and installing somewhere else, and removing and selling the statue.
The public input survey, which was conducted from Sept. 10-27, garnered 2,094 total responses. Of this, 1,781 respondents said they resided in a McKinney ZIP code.
The majority of McKinney residents who responded to the survey were in favor of leaving the statue in place, city staff said. Similarly, the majority of nonresidents who responded to the survey were also in favor of leaving the statue in place. Staff also noted that during the public comments at the Sept. 17 meeting, 18 people spoke, and 10 were in favor of leaving the statue where it is. Seven were in favor of relocating it, and one person did not share an opinion.
Council and those in attendance heard two presentations from members of the advisory board: one from Justin Beller and another from Nathan White. Beller’s presentation made the case for relocating the statue. White’s presentation made the case for leaving the statue where it is, but perhaps with some additional signage.
No decision was made in regard to the statue at the meeting. Council heard the feedback about the statue during public comments and from the board during the item’s discussion period.
“We’re going to take this information; we're going to consider it; and then we'll act on it,” Mayor Pro Tem Rainey Rogers said.
Council Member La’Shadion Shemwell expressed his displeasure with the lack of action. He said a draft of the council agenda sent last week contained action from the council regarding this issue. The item was changed and posted on Friday without his knowing the item was changed, he said.
“This meeting is a sham because we have talked about this for months and months and months, and you have all the information that you need,” Shemwell said. “Nobody's minds are being changed.”
A proposition recalling Shemwell from his position on the council is on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election. Shemwell said this could be one of his last council meetings, and he wanted to take action on the statue while he still could.
Mayor George Fuller said items on the agenda are frequently changed and no notifications are sent to council members regarding these changes. He said the change was made to give the council time to consider the information presented to them and to give the community a chance to discuss the information as well.
Council Member Frederick Frazier agreed with Fuller on this point.
“I would never act on that decision by just hearing that tonight. I have a lot to weigh on both sides,” he said.
Discussions and findings from the advisory board are being logged at this page.