Lakeland finds money to move Confederate soldier statue

The Lakeland city commission voted Friday to use $225,000 from red light camera violations to move the controversial Confederate monument from Munn Park in Lakeland's downtown to a local park dedicated to veterans. The move is expected to be completed by Jan. 31.

"The mayor proposed that we use red light camera revenues to relocate it," according to Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the City of Lakeland. "We have $1.7 million right now in the red light camera revenue, and they earmarked a prince to to exceed $225,000."

The commission voted in May to move the statue to the veterans park, but provided no taxpayer money to pay for it. Private donations fell well short of the amount needed. 

Some residents in Lakeland felt no public money should be spent on the move. 

"It just way too much just to move a monument. If they want to use those funds to pay for something, use it for public transportation," said Richard Crocker, a Lakeland resident. 

The statue, like many others across the South, depicts a generic Confederate soldier atop a pediment. Some commissioners said the veterans' park is a more appropriate site for the monument.

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