Downtown Christopher Columbus statue may be on the move - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Downtown Christopher Columbus statue may be on the move

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MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – The bronze statue of famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus seems to be looking well beyond downtown Memphis from its perch at Third & Adams.  The Italian-American organization called UNICO wants to move it.

"We went down and looked at that park, and the park was in awful shape," said UNICO member Michael Spano.

UNICO paid for Columbus Park's construction in the 1980's.  It's when many of the Italian families listed on a plaque still had connections downtown.

"The park itself is no longer really used and it's not the center of the Catholic or Italian community anymore, like it was many years ago," said Spano.

Several months ago, UNICO proposed moving the statue to Marquette Park in East Memphis for one obvious reason.

"The biggest Italian event in town is there every year," said Spano.

The group plans to raise the estimated $6000 to $7000 needed to relocate the statue.  It leaves the city with little to do but approve the move.

"They paid for the statue, installed it, it was all on their dime," said councilman Jim Strickland.

He is already thinking of what to do with Columbus Park once Columbus is gone.

"I've had very preliminary discussions with some lawyers in the community about a park in honor of the lawyers in the 1960's who were leading the civil rights movement, because it's right directly across from the courthouse," said Strickland.

"We're on, like, the third step of a 10-step trail," said Spano.

It's a far less divisive discussion than ones over other downtown parks.

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