Do Statues of Confederate Leaders Raise Property Values?

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Should the city of Richmond, Virginia, tear down the statues of Confederate leaders that line Monument Avenue? Ed Gillespie, who’s running for governor this year, says no:

Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, lobbyist and adviser to President George W. Bush, said he would prefer to keep the statues up – in part because of the cost of removal, which has been estimated at $5 million to $10 million for the statues that tower over Richmond’s Monument Avenue. “There’s a lot more things we could do here in Richmond with $10 million,” Gillespie said.

Really? $10 million to tear down five statues? Not exactly:

“I never thought they’d go away,” said Bill Gallasch, 74, president of the Monument Avenue Preservation Society….A real estate agent and former appraiser, Gallasch said he believes removing the monuments would knock 10 to 20 percent off property values in the area around the avenue — costing as much as $3 million a year in city tax revenue.

Property values! Where have I heard this argument before? But would removal of five statues representing the leading white supremacists of the Confederacy really knock 10-20 percent off property values in the area? If Gallasch is wrong, then the statues might as well come down. But if he’s right, then the statues really, really ought to come down.

POSTSCRIPT: As for the actual cost of removing the things, I’ll bet there are plenty of folks who’d be willing to do it for free. And if you insist on professionals, I’ll bet a Kickstarter campaign would raise the money in no time.

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