County won't move Inverness veterans memorials


War memorials in Inverness Florida. (Click image for larger photo)

War memorials in Inverness FloridaIf the unanimous vote today of the Citrus County Commission is any indicator, plans to move veterans memorials from the front of the Historic Old Courthouse in Inverness aren't going anywhere.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to not go ahead with moving the memorials to the back of the courthouse, where some groups had lobbied for the landmarks to be relocated to.

Surprisingly, some representatives from the county's veterans groups said at the commission meeting that they hadn't even been invited to discussions that eventually led to calls to move the monuments.

And Sophia Diaz-Fonseca, who presented the position of the Historical Resources Advisory Board, said the group did not want to see the monuments moved. She said the monuments were placed there because that area was an area of honor. She also said that moving the monuments elsewhere would mean the loss of that distinction.

John Wade, President of the Citrus County Council, said that the council took a vote and voted no to any move them. "Don't move the monuments," Wade said.

Another member of the public put a sharp point to his opinion. "The city's stage (Inverness) does not belong behind those memorials."

In board discussion, Commissioner Joe Meek said he favored leaving  the monuments in their places."It's a no-brainer," Meek said. He added that, beyond that, something should make the area that surrounds the monuments nicer.

Commissioner Ron Kitchen asked, "If nobody wants the monuments moved, why is it on the (agenda)?" Kitchen said he assumed that veterans had been involved in the discussions.

Commissioner Scott Adams said the move to relocate the monuments were an idea of former Commissioner John "JJ" Kenney, as part of a nine-point plan to bring the city of Inverness and the county closer together. "Kenney brought this motion forward," Adams said. "I do feel that politics were played."

Under the "nine-point plan," the city and county were to each kick in $12,500 apiece to relocate the monuments. Now, the commission agreed, the "county's" contribution will be used to beautify the area instead of moving the monuments.