After nearly half a year of requests by the Telegram, the City of Rocky Mount on Tuesday released documents about the since-removed Confederate monument.
The documents showed Greenville Marble & Granite submitted a bid of $225,000 to take down the monument from southeast of the U.S. 64 interchange with Benvenue Road and haul the parts of the structure to the grounds of the municipal wastewater treatment plant northeast of the city for storage.
The documents also showed Greenville Marble & Granite charged an additional fee of $56,250.
Interim city Communications, Marketing and Public Relations Director Jessie Nunery told the Telegram the reason for the $56,250 having been added on was because the municipality approved an additional one-time 25 percent fee to accelerate the work.
The documents show an agreement was reached on June 23, 2020, for Greenville Marble & Granite to do the work, with the project start date to be June 29, 2020.
The documents specified there was to be a turnaround time of five consecutive days to complete the project.
The documents called for the company to be paid a total of $281,250 — $140,625 up front and $140,625 at the time of the completion of the work.
The documents also said the city would be responsible for the removal of trees at the site prior to the start of the work.
Later, a one-time fee of $600 was approved to pay for a tarp to cover the parts of the monument, Nunery said.
The monument was installed in 1917 by Confederate veteran Robert Henry Ricks of Nash County in memory of his comrades on land owned by the then-Rocky Mount Mills.
In 1976, the monument site was annexed by the City of Rocky Mount. T.E. Ricks, representing the Robert Henry Ricks estate, asked the municipality to take over the maintenance of the area around the monument.
The then-City Council in 1976 agreed to maintain the monument site, which meant the municipality would mow the surrounding grass and keep the surrounding area clean, subject to the monument site being given to the city.
The monument became a focus of attention in the aftermath of the May 25, 2020, death of African American George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death prompted riots in cities nationwide and the removal of Confederate monuments in the South by either government officials or protesters.
On May 31, 2020, the Confederate monument in Rocky Mount was the scene of a peaceful protest to call attention to Floyd’s death.
The City Council voted 6-1 during a council budget work session on June 2, 2020, to move the monument and formalized the action of that vote with a 6-1 vote at the June 8, 2020, council meeting. Councilman W.B. Bullock cast the lone dissenting votes.
The text supporting the June 8, 2020, vote called for putting the monument in a safe place, pending further action by the council.
The council without dissent approved a resolution against racial injustice and declaring Black lives matter. However, there were complaints locally via social media after a news release from Nunery on June 25, 2020, saying the cost to take the monument down would exceed $281,000.
City documents said the monument had been a target of vandalism in the past. That included the monument’s two rear statues having been pulled from their pedestals and found in pieces on the ground, as well as damage to the head of the front left statue, which had been removed from the monument and never was located.
The documents also referred to a downtown business having been vandalized and a bomb threat having been made to the state Department of Revenue service center off Country Club Road in the northwestern part of the city. The documents did not name the business, but the Telegram quoted police as saying Wholesale Paint Center off North Church Street on June 1, 2020, reported having sustained damage to its windows. The bomb threat to the state service center occurred the next day.
The documents also noted that unnamed members of the council became aware of credible threats to destroy the monument as a response to acts of racial injustice.
The council on Jan. 11 voted to release the parts of the monument to the care and custody of the Robert Henry Ricks Camp 75 of the state Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Bethel Heroes 636 state division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for preservation at a location in Nash County.
The Telegram as far back as March 11 and citing the state public records law had been emailing the city asking for documents about the final cost of the removal of the monument.