United Daughters of the Confederacy unveil new park design

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The park will house the confederate statue that was removed from the Bentonville square.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — After facing the Benton County courthouse for more than a century, a statue depicting a confederate soldier has been removed.

Tuesday KNWA/FOX 24 got our first look at the designs of the park it’s going to, the new James H. Berry park.

On the corner of SW Fifth and F St., you’ll soon see the 22 ft statue that some hoped to never see again, while others are excited for its new home.

For some in the Bentonville area, the statue has stood as sign of racism.

“Somebody told me to go back where I came from,” said Sheree Miller, an activist for shame of Bentonville.

For others, it’s been a point of pride.

“What we want to see is history, historical aspects, educational aspects and memorable aspects,” said Joey McCutchen with the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

It’s long been a point of contention, leading to its removal from where its stood since 1908 in the center of the Bentonville square.

A move activist Sheree Miller has been pushing for a long time.

“How many Saturdays would you say you’ve spent out here?”
Miller: “A year”
“For a whole year?”
Miller: “A whole year.”

In that time period, she and her group “Shame of Bentonville” garnered about 6,000 signatures to remove the statue.

Fast forward to Tuesday…

The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Benton County Historical Society have announced their designs for James H. Berry park, the new home of the statue.

Ann Rossi with the United Daughters of the Confederacy said, “This park will offer a background for those of us living today and offer us a time of reflection.”

Inside the park you’ll also find a wall engraved with the names of Benton County soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War.

McCutchen said while creating the plans for this, he hasn’t seen any push back from local activist groups.

“We’re just trying to be respectful of everyone in the process,” he said.

A resolution soon to be set in stone, satisfying activists like Miller for now.

“I’m glad to see the monument relocated and as I said its up to people who want to go see it,'” she said.

To protect the area from vandalism there will be three security features; a fence, security cameras and bright lighting.

As of right now there is not a price tag on the park, but it will be privately owned so no tax payer dollars will spent in the construction.

The UDC is hoping to start construction by January 1, 2021.

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