DALLAS - The Robert E. Lee statue did not come down Friday as crews continue prep work for its eventual removal.
Conservator Michael van Enter, who is overseeing the project, told WFAA reporter David Goins they had hoped to get more prep work done before a crane was needed. The crane was apparently not immediately available.
Preserving the statue for storage is a top priority until a task force appointed by the city council makes recommendations.
The City said late Friday night that it wants to "explore all available options to safely and expeditiously remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Lee Park."
“We are working with contractors and exploring all available options to remove the statue, while also protecting its artistic integrity,” said City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
Officials will meet with contractors to find a time frame and work out the issues. There's no date or time for completion, and the cost of the removal will likely change, the City said.
The Robert E. Lee statue was cleared to come down after a brief court hearing Thursday, but city council members did not provide a timeline on when the iconic monument would be removed.
The temporary restraining order granted late Wednesday afternoon to halt the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Dallas' Turtle Creek neighborhood was dissolved.
U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Fitzwater ruled the plaintiff in the case failed to show it would likely succeed if the case were to proceed further, which is required in order to keep a temporary restraining order, or TRO, in place.
Hiram Patterson of Dallas is listed as the plaintiff, along with the organization "Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc."
From the bench, Judge Fitzwater read a prepared ruling at the end of arguments from both sides.
He said the plaintiff "failed to clearly establish Dallas violated free speech when [the city] engaged in its own expression" and that the removal of the Lee statue did not equate to a violation of constitutional rights.
BREAKING : TRO dissolved @wfaachannel8— David Goins (@dgoins) September 7, 2017
Crews worked for over three hours to removal of the statue Thursday after the 13-1 vote by the council. A crane was in place and workers had put straps around the statue, giving the appearance that a hoist was imminent.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m., though, the straps were undone and work stopped.
Wednesday's vote followed a resolution proposed by three of the four black council members last week, seeking the immediate removal of the Robert E. Lee monument, which doesn't have the same historical protection as other Confederate monuments in the city.
The resolution also supports a task force appointed by the council to decide the fate of the Confederate statues, demanding at least two public meetings to receive public input.
The resolution, signed by Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and Councilmen Casey Thomas II and Tennell Atkins, also permits the council to “take further action as needed” in regards to the “renaming of certain public places” currently named after members of the Confederacy.
The 20-member task force announced by Mayor Mike Rawlings in August has not yet made a recommendation on the city’s Confederate statues.
City of Dallas representatives say they will store the Robert E. Lee statue at Hensley Field, a city-owned storage facility in far west Dallas, until the task force decides what to do with it long term.
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