MACON, Ga. — If you drive down Cotton Avenue in downtown Macon, you'll see a change.
Construction crews moved in early Wednesday to start moving the Confederate statue there to its new location at Whittle Park, outside Rose Hill Cemetery.
Before the sounds of construction equipment pierced the morning air, a sunrise standoff began on the steps of the Cotton Avenue Confederate statue.
"History is gone once they remove it," Andrew Tripp said about the statue. "I've been out here since 10:00 last night just trying to remember the monument, not trying to protest or anything, not trying to cause a scene."
Tripp said he was worried about the statue being harmed during the move. Buster Slocumb with Midstate Steel said he wouldn't let that happen. His crew worked for about five and a half hours to get the statue off the pedestal.
"The statue weighed about 10,000 pounds, and all the pieces and parts add up to about 198,000," Slocumb said.
The statue, and a smaller one on Poplar Street, will move to Whittle Park this week.
"It means actually creating conversation and realizing the mistakes of the past," said Clifford McDonald.
McDonald organized a protest at the statue in 2020, aimed at moving it. They built a wall around it and brought in local artists to paint it. He says it was called 'Block the Hate.'
"Realizing what this area was originally used for and realizing it's probably not the proper place for a monument," McDonald said.
McDonald took some time off work Wednesday to be there, but others, like Tony Price and Kathy Young stumbled across the work as it happened.
"I saw the news story," Price said. "I figured, 'Why not go out and see what's going on?'"
Young passed by on her morning bike ride. She says the new location is a good spot. She hopes the county will expand the green space on Cotton Avenue as planned.
"They can have music, and everybody eats and browses the street. Sounds like a great idea," Young said.
County spokesman Chris Floore says the county is moving forward with the green space plan. He says they're in the design process now.
After they finish moving the bigger statue, the construction crew will focus on a smaller statue on Poplar Street. Slocumb says they hope to finish by Friday.