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Lack of Crane, Crew Keeps Robert E. Lee Statue in Place — for Now

Lee Park's Robert E. Lee can't be removed without proper equipment and a work crew, an art conservator says.
Lee Park's Robert E. Lee can't be removed without proper equipment and a work crew, an art conservator says.
Jim Schutze
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The Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Park will not be coming down today. Late Friday morning, Michael Van Enter, the art conservator charged with preserving the statue as it's removed, said that work couldn't continue on the statue until a crane was in place and an appropriate work crew could be hired. Otherwise, he said, the statue could be damaged.

"It really is dependent on the very large piece of equipment that is required to work within the safety standard," he said. "I need to have the right crew that I had [Wednesday]. Remember, a lot of these pieces of equipment are helping people out in Houston right now. There's a shortage of big equipment. You can't just put it on a truck and drive it down the road. There's a lot of planning [necessary]."

A work crew prepared the Robert E. Lee statue for removal Wednesday.EXPAND
A work crew prepared the Robert E. Lee statue for removal Wednesday.
Patrick Williams

A crane was in place Wednesday afternoon to remove the statue, following the City Council's 13-1 vote to take down the Confederate monument, but a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order that interrupted the process. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sydney Fitzwater dismissed the claim, brought by Hiram Patterson and members of the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that removing the statue was a violation of free speech.

The city has been working on getting a crane since Fitzwater's order Thursday afternoon but has been unable to find one. As of lunchtime Friday, the Dallas City Manager's Office had no word on when one might be available.

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