LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The King Louis XVI statue located in downtown Louisville was removed due to safety concerns, according to the Mayor’s press office.
Crews began working to remove the statue, which is located at 6th and Jefferson streets, around 7 a.m. Thursday.
The statue, which honors the French king who gave Louisville its name, was a gift from sister city Montpellier in 1967.
City officials said the decision to remove the statue was made because of the statue’s condition. They are concerned further destruction could cause the statue to injure people in the area.
Amid recent civil unrest, the marble statue has sustained damage from spray paint, surface abrasion cleaning, and breakage on the arms and feet. Officials said due to the condition and material, the statue cannot be cleaned and restored on-site.
Archivist and local historian Tom Owen said he understands the frustration behind the recent vandalism but he’s hopeful the statue won’t be removed permanently.
”It was shocking to hear that the mayor decided this morning to remove it, to protect it, to clean it and perhaps go through a reflective season of consideration of the statue’s future,” he said.
Wayne Jacobs tells WAVE 3 News the statue’s removal covers up the anger surrounding recent protests but he’s ultimately happy to see it gone.
”The only reason why they took that down is because they want people from out of town to not see that, not see what’s going on,” he said.
Mayor Greg Fischer addressed the statue’s removal during his COVID-19 update Thursday.
”Clearly it’s a challenging time in the city. What we want to do is make sure if the statue has safety-related issues with it we wanted it to be removed, and at some point in time it will be cleaned and we’ll see where we can re-site it,” he said.
The statue will be taken to a city storage facility. Any future plans for it will be determined following a conservation assessment.