Donations to move Confederate statue surpass $140,000 goal

By Dalia Dangerfield and Saundra Weathers, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017, 10:35 PM EDT

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has announced that over $140,000 has been raised through private funds to removed a Confederate statue at the old Hillsborough County courthouse. 

  • Funding goal met in less than 24 hours
  • County will now proceed with planned move
  • Fence erected to protect against threat of vandalism

With funding secured, the county is set to move forward with a plan to move the statue to a private cemetery.

But even before that plan could be put into motion, the city erected a 12-foot wooden fence around the statue to prevent vandalism.

The move came just hours after Buckhorn's announcement that the fundraising goal had been reached less than 24 hours after it was issued.

"It shouldn’t have happened that way and it shouldn’t have been the burden of the business community to do this," Buckhorn said. "That commission should’ve had the moral high ground and the political courage to be able to do it themselves."

Earlier Thursday, Buckhorn said he donated $1,000 toward the removal of the statue.

Then, former Tampa Bay Bucs coach Tony Dungy donated $5,000 and challenged the area the area's professional baseball, football and hockey teams -- the Rays, Bucs, and Lightning, respectively -- to do the same.

All three answered Dungy's challenge, announcing via Twitter that they had all contributed to the $70,000 contributed to the goal by the chamber of commerce.

In a joint statement, the teams said:

"Recognizing that this monument does not reflect the values of our community, in collaboration with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, our organizations have dedicated funds to assist in moving the statue from the public space in front of the courthouse. Now more than ever before, we must stand united and committed to diversity and inclusion as we all attempt to heal from the tragedy in Charlottesville."

The county released a calendar detailing the steps in the process to move the statue, as well as the cost of each step.