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Groups both for and against Columbus statue share their opinions after judge's ruling to keep it. City of Syracuse intends to appeal.

Scott Willis

A judge’s decision last week to rule in favor of keeping the statue of Christopher Columbus in Downtown Syracuse means it will stay for now… but, Mayor Ben Walsh says an appeal will be forthcoming. The statue has been in place on Columbus Circle for 90 years and Monument Corporation member Nick Pirro, his family, and others have deep roots to it. Pirro says they are pleased with the court’s ruling.

“The judge‘s decision is something we put into our legal papers and he supports the fact what we had said that the Mayor had exceeded his authority to even consider taking the statue down.”

Pirro adds the monument was erected with the support of thousands of people who celebrated their Italian-American heritage and their arrival to America. He doesn’t believe all that’s been said negatively about Columbus as reasons to remove the statue or that he was, “a bad person.” NOON, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation expressed deep dismay by the Judge’s decision. Sue Eiholzer says the ruling is just a continuation of a long process for those who want the statue removed.

“I am very surprised we’re this close… and the time has come to do something about it.  I understand the feeling in the Italian-American Community about their ancestors getting this (statue) put up… but, we are a very diverse community.  And it’s time to recognize that and to honor everyone.”  

Founding member of WISH CNY, Donna Inglima says people no longer want public spaces to honor – in her words - “conquerors, enslavers and tyrants.” The monument corporation’s Pirro describes it as some wanting to “right the wrongs” of “those who followed Columbus to the new world” but, he insists, Columbus is not to blame. He says it’s time to work together on developing a park across from the monument.

“It could be expanded to have additional perspectives and representations of other ethnic groups.  We would support that, we would work with the city to do it.  We just hope that the Mayor stops this vendetta against the Italian people and move on.”

Several groups plan to hold a “Replace Columbus Vigil” tonight at 5 at the Columbus monument.