CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The city of Chula Vista removed a Christopher Columbus statue from Discovery Park today and placed it in storage "out of public safety concerns."
City officials said the statue, which has been in the park at 700 Buena Vista Way since 1991, has been under consideration for removal, but COVID- 19 restrictions have prevented a public forum on the matter.
The figure has been a target for vandals over the years, with uproar over the statue triggering the Chula Vista Human Relations Commission to approve a resolution in February requesting the city council consider removing it.
In a statement issued Friday, City Councilman Steve Padilla said the statue "has been a source of controversy over the years, including repeated instances of vandalism and protest. Many have asked for its removal, and given all that is happening nationwide regarding America's legacy of racism, the city decided to put it in storage."
"I look forward to an important community conversation about the final fate of the statue, as well as further actions the city can take to ensure that all Chula Vistans feel safe and welcome in our community," he said.
The city's statement said that while public health considerations have delayed a public forum, "it is expected that the item will be brought forward for further public input and consideration."