Plywood box covering Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia removed

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The statue of Christopher Columbus is visible again in South Philadelphia.

The plywood box covering the Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza was removed by court order Sunday night after more than two years.

Only Action News was there when crews began the removal process around 8 p.m

“I’m pretty sure people will come by and take pictures,” noted Mark Momorella of South Philadelphia.

Last week, a three-member Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania panel ruled that the wooden box must be removed.

“I witnessed and counseled in the lawsuit to protect the statue and remove the shell, so our hard work finally came to fruition,” said Robert Petrone, Esq., who stopped by the statue for a photo Monday morning.

The fight over this statue on South Broad Street broke out in the summer of 2020 amid protests following the death of George Floyd.

Statues of Columbus were brought down in other cities, and attention focused on these in South Philadelphia.

Some came armed with guns to defend it.

“Oh, I’ve seen everything; I just remember all the people in front of it, all on the news,” recalled Robert Minutella, who lives near the statue.

Minutella added, “To try to eliminate it, I think you don’t learn from it.”

It was a tense environment, and the city said they would build a wooden box around the statue while a decision was made about its future.

The city has since worked to remove the statue but has met with opposition. The lawsuit dragged on.

The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office said they continue to review the court’s recent ruling and released a statement, saying in part:

“While we will respect that decision, we will continue to evaluate our options for a path forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the stories and circumstances of everyone’s diverse backgrounds.”

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved. Plywood box covering Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia removed

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