The City of New Haven has formed a committee to decide what will succeed the now-removed Christopher Columbus statue at Wooster Square Park, the city announced Monday.
The New Haven Parks Department removed the 4,000 pound bronze statue of Christopher Columbus from its pedestal on Wednesday but left the pedestal for "historical preservation purposes."
The statue is currently being maintained in a secure location, according to the city.
The Wooster Square Monument Committee will be made up of the following members:
- Carl Babb, Member, New Haven Parks Commission
- David Belowsky, Member, New Haven Parks Commission
- Frances Calzetta, Member, American Italian Women of Greater New Haven
- Frank Carrano, Member, Wooster Square Historian, Branford Resident
- Elsie Chapman, Member, Historic Wooster Square Association
- Andrew Consiglio, Member, Santa Maria Maddalena Society
- Paul Criscuolo, Member, St. Catello Society
- Rheta DeBenedett, Member, Santa Maria Maddalena Ladies Society
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Member, U.S. House of Representatives
- Frank Gargano, Member, St. Andrew Society
- Sarah Greenblatt, Member, Wooster Square Resident
- Bill Iovanne, Member, Wooster Square Business Owner
- Adriane Jefferson, Member, City of New Haven Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs
- Laura Luzzi, Member, Italian Heritage Committee of Greater New Haven
- Vin Mauro, Member, New Haven Resident
- Charles Murphy, Member, Wooster Square Resident
- Dan Onofrio, Member, CT State President Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
- State Rep. Al Paolillo, Jr., Member, Connecticut General Assembly
- Michael Piscitelli, Member, City of New Haven Economic Development Administrator
- Cindy Rosarbo, Member, St. Andrew Ladies Society
- Aleta Staton, Member, New Haven Cultural Affairs Commission
- Two Representatives from the New Haven Board of Alders selected by President Walker-Myers
- Neil Thomas Proto, Advisory Role, Historian
"The removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus was emotional for many people in the Italian community in New Haven," New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement. "While I believe it was the right decision to remove the statue, I also understand the importance of Columbus to the Italian community as a symbol of Italian heritage. We are forming the Wooster Square Monument Committee to decide how to appropriately honor the contributions to Italian-Americans in New Haven through a collaborative community process. I am looking forward to the many conversations surrounding how we can respectfully highlight Italian-American culture and do so as a community."
The statue was removed amid protests nationwide for racial justice and the city parks commission will later decide what to do with it.
The statue will remain in the city's custody and will be moved to the Knights of Columbus Museum. The city said the statue holds deep ties to the Italian-American community, as it was first erected in 1892, and later recast in bronze in 1955.
For many Italian Americans, the statue is a symbol of success and achievement.