Northam announces final steps in clearing, ceding area where Lee monument stood

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on Sunday that the final steps to remove what's left of the memorial to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond would commence on Monday and be "substantially complete" by Dec. 31.

The announcement comes a little over a month before Gov.-elect Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinOvernight Health Care — White House sees quick uptake for free tests Governors declare state of emergency ahead of severe winter weather Virginia's new AG tells state colleges they can't require COVID-19 vaccine for students MORE takes office. The circle of land around the former statue site will also be transferred from the state to the city of Richmond. 

“This land is in the middle of Richmond, and Richmonders will determine the future of this space,” Northam said in a statement. “The Commonwealth will remove the pedestal and we anticipate a safe removal and a successful conclusion to this project.”

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The Hill has reached out to the office of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney regarding possible plans for the parcel of land.

In September, the statue of Lee was removed from the pedestal and later cut into pieces. Northam had made plans to remove the statue known in June 2020 as criminal justice and anti-police brutality protests were underway following the death of George Floyd.

A Virginia court cleared the way for the statue to be removed months in early September following a lengthy battle. 

“This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement prior to its removal.  

Youngkin and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffeJill Biden adds to communications team in lead-up to midterm elections The Memo: Is Trump the GOP's future or in rearview mirror? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems barrel towards voting rights vote with no outcome MORE, his opponent in November, both backed the removal of the Lee statue, according to The Washington Post, which pressed the then-candidates on the issue. 

However, Youngkin previously signaled that he wanted the statue to be placed in a museum or battlefield “so that we won’t forget our history,” according to the newspaper.