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Eustis commissioner at odds with city leaders over offer to take unwanted Confederate monuments

Confederate Statue

Eustis Florida —

As cities and counties all over the country start to ask questions about moving public Confederate symbols following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, a Eustis commissioner has made an offer for items other municipalities don’t want.

“To any cities or counties that would like to donate their Confederate monuments to the city of Eustis, we will gladly accept and proudly display our nation’s history. Thank you,” Commissioner Anthony Sabatini said in a Facebook post Thursday.

Anthony Sabatini Facebook Post

Apparently his offer had not been vetted with other city leaders, as the city of Eustis posted on its official page in response to Sabatini’s offer.

“The Eustis City Commission has taken no formal action regarding Confederate statues,” the post said. “The statements made by Commissioner Sabatini were as an individual.”

Speaking to Channel 9 on Friday, Sabatini said he made the offer because he doesn’t want to see part of the country’s history disappear.

He also said he doesn’t believe in approaching an issue like this half-heartedly.

“I’m a big believer in, you don’t tip your toes in the water, you just get in there,” he said. “So, I just kick-started it to let people know (that) we’ve got to put them somewhere.

Interactive: Map of Confederate monuments in Florida

“I wish cities and counties where these statues are, (that) they could find a spot for them.”

Some community members, though, did not like the idea of bringing Confederate monuments to Eustis.

Tech company owner Dewey Robins said he would move his business if that happened.

“I think people are making a statement with the flags and the statues. That’s a statement that they are making and to me it insinuates racism,” Robins said. “It wouldn’t represent our values.”

Resident Jeff Walker didn’t have a problem with Confederate monuments being displayed publicly, but the idea of bringing them to the city from other places didn’t sit well with him.

“If it was already here, it would be different,” he said. “But if you bring it here, it’s going to be a lot of people here protesting and people could get hurt.”

Photos: Confederate veterans’ graves at Greenwood Cemetery

Eustis currently has numerous monuments, but no Confederate statues or flags in public spaces.

Sabatini expected people would want to weigh in on the issue during the September Eustis City Commission meeting.

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