Officials in Youngstown, Ohio are stumped after a community leader took the relocation of a local war memorial into his own hands following discussions of its removal.
According to The Vindicator Newspaper, Brian Kennedy, president of Kennedy Trucking and member of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, initially proposed the relocation of the monument from South Side Park off of South Avenue, to his property at 1447 South Avenue, just 165 feet away from its original location, allowing the war memorial monument to be more visible to the passing public.
However, on Thursday, July 16th, during a meeting with the city council’s buildings and grounds committee, Kennedy revealed that monument builders OT Beight and Sons, who have been working closely with Kennedy on this project, had already relocated the monument to its proposed spot on Kennedy’s property.
Although the city was likely to move forward with the plan to relocate the monument to the proposed location, city officials were not pleased that the move had been done without an official agreement.
“How does someone remove city property legally without the city’s permission?” Councilwoman Anita Davis, D-6th, said. “It sets a bad precedent.”
“I’m frankly stunned this was moved without city approval. It was my understanding it was city property and a city monument. I don’t know how anyone can do that,” added Law Director Jeff Limbian.
Davis’ initial reaction was to order the monument be moved back to its original location, but later retracted the order, saying that it “would be petty on my part to demand it be put back. But this wasn’t the way to do it. There’s a process.”
While speaking to the committee, Kennedy said that the premature relocation was “an error” and that he had not learned about it until just prior to the meeting. He also added that he had had no intention of circumventing any city official.
The monument was built in 1961 by the South Side Citizens Committee and is “dedicated to men and women of this community who served their nation in peace and in war.”
The committee plans to meet again in two weeks to formalize the legal documents needed to make the monument move official.