The Confederate monument in Albertville that has been the focus of protests since August will be getting a new fence placed around it, according to Marshall County Commission chairman James Hutcheson .
The chairman told The Reporter a fence will soon be placed around the flagpole area, which contains the Confederate monument and a separate war memorial. Hutcheson said installing a barrier was a matter of safety.
“All of your monuments have got some type of fence around it to keep people … kids from climbing and falling,” he said. “ It’s a safety issue for me… We’ve seen kids out there climbing on it, and I don’t want somebody to fall off and get hurt.”
The style of fence would match the black railing already present at the courthouse and will cost approximately $3,000. The money would come out of the Courthouse Budget Fund, Hutcheson said.
Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said he had received requests to install a barrier around the monuments, so he began discussing the idea with the chairman.
“It was suggested that a fence or something be put around it to keep the area more secure and keep it from being damaged,” Sims said.
Aside from the Confederate monument, he said he was concerned about the other war memorial and flagpoles located there getting damaged or vandalized.
“I’m not worried about just that one monument that everyone is focused on,” Sims said. “Right next to it, you got your other military monument… The last thing I want to see is anybody throw paint on it, ram into their car or take a sledge hammer to it.”
Sims said he initially recommended cordoning off the area with posts and police tape during any future protests, but Hutcheson said he wanted something more permanent that would add to the aesthetics of the courthouse in addition to providing security.
“Anything I do to the courthouse, I want it to look presentable to the public,” Hutcheson said.
The chairman said he’s done a lot to spruce up the courthouse since taking office including extensive landscaping and tree removal, replacing the front awning, refinishing the front stairs, applying a new paint job and adding a new, paved handicap ramp.
“I try to take pride in anything I do to [the courthouse],” he said. “This handrail around the monument, it’s really nothing compared to what we’ve done.”