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Decatur City Commission supports removal of cannon; resolution will go to DeKalb Commission

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Decatur City Commission supports removal of cannon; resolution will go to DeKalb Commission

The cannon from the Indian War of 1836 that Andre Williams is walking past is one of the monuments to hate and white supremacy currently located around the historic DeKalb County courthouse that were demanded to be removed during the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Take It Down-No More Monuments to White Supremacy” rally on the Decatur Square June 17, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission at their Monday night meeting approved a resolution supporting the removal of the “Indian War” cannon, extending the city’s face covering ordinance, improvements for pedestrian safety on South Candler street, and more.

The meeting was led by Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers because Mayor Patti Garrett was unable to attend.

The Decatur City Commission approved their support for the removal of the cannon, but the final decision for removal will be up to the DeKalb County City Commission.

Many Decatur High School students joined the meeting to stand with Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights and expressed their support for the removal of the cannon, saying that it represents hatred and white supremacy that has no home in Decatur.

Mr. Whitehawk, a member of the Muscogee Nation, also shared his thoughts on the cannon, including that the cannon made the Muscogee people feel “timid.” Mark Pifer, the author of a book about the history of Decatur and a recent Decaturish op-ed about the cannon, also spoke in favor of removal. Commissioner Lesa Mayer and Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers expressed their support for the DHS students’ efforts. Commissioner Mayer mentioned a section of Pifer’s article, which described an incident of “white capping” in relation to the cannon, as being a particularly disturbing part of its history.

The cannon was placed in Decatur in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and memorializes the removal of indigenous peoples following the Creek Indian War of 1836. The war was a consequence of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which President Andrew Jackson strongly supported, according to a report from the National Park Service.

In other business:

— Commissioners approved special exceptions to allow for the redevelopment the East Decatur Station property along College Avenue between Sams and New Streets.

As reported previously in Decaturish, Charlotte, NC-based developer Northwood Ravin intends to build a 400+ apartment community together with a mix of restaurants, shops and a large co-working space on the six-acre property. If completed, it would be the first residential development in Decatur to come under the city’s new mandatory inclusionary zoning requirements.

Resident Lynn Gathercole expressed concern about the amount of strain that the apartment community would put on traffic and schools.

Plans for the development call for a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units that surround a parking structure in the interior of the site. The developer will also construct a new section of Freeman Street to run along the southern edge of the development, connecting Sams Street and New Street. All vehicle entrances to the development and the parking structure will be off this new section of Freeman Street or a private drive that will run through the development and connect to New Street. The state Department of Transportation will not allow any new curb cuts or traffic entrances off College Avenue.

To learn about those exceptions and to learn more about this project, click here.

– The City Commission extended its face-covering (mask) ordinance through Jan. 19, 2021.

– The City Commission awarded a contract worth $57,165 to GTG Traffic Signals, LLC for a flashing pedestrian beacon and median island at 184 South Candler Street next to the Agnes Scott College campus.

“Agnes Scott College will be a partner in the pedestrian beacon project and has committed funds to cover half of the project implementation cost in an amount not to exceed $26,500,” a memo from Assistant City Manager David Junger said. “City staff has been working with Agnes Scott College, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the community to provide safe pedestrian crossings along the corridor for residents, Agnes Scott College students and faculty and the City Schools of Decatur Safe Routes to School program.”

– The City Commission awarded a $179,020 contract to Municipal Emergency Services for 24 self-contained breathing apparatuses for the Fire Department. Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers praised the fire department and said that this was the “least that they could do” for the fire department.

– The City Commission awarded a $28,500 contract to Arborguard Tree Specialists for maintenance of street trees in downtown Decatur.

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