Hillsborough Co. prepares to remove Confederate monument

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The safe removal of Hillsborough's Confederate monument will be a delicate operation; one that requires a detailed and strategic plan.

"Yeah, this planning has been going on since the board gave the direction to move the monument," said Josh Bellotti, Hillsborough County's Director of Real Estate and Facility Services. "This is just a continuation of our evaluation and planning to execute the actual move."

Last week, Manatee County's Confederate statue broke in half when it was being removed. Hillsborough County officials want to make sure what happened there doesn't happen here.

"I think the amount of time and effort that we're spending on the preparation activities to ensure that we do this in a very deliberate way is what we're going to focus on to protect our monument so that we don't have any damage to our's," said Bellotti.

This week, crews are preparing to take it down. Thursday, scaffolding, and platforms were put up. Next week, the 32,000-pound marble statue - made up of 26 pieces - will start to come down.

"We're going to need to do that slowly and meticulously," said Bellotti. "Based on the fact that this a 100-year-old piece of marble, marble's very brittle, and so we need to be very careful as we start lifting those components off."

Bellotti says one of the most difficult parts will be removing the obelisk. In Manatee County, that's the tall pillar with the pyramid top that broke in half.

"Working with our contractor, we've got subcontractors that have experience in this kind of move, structural engineers that are looking at structural integrity of the different components," said Bellotti. "The biggest thing there is just to coordinate all the experts that have their different roles and responsibilities to bring it all together."

The goal is to make sure this monument stays together when it makes the move to Brandon.