Ex­tra pro­tec­tion planned for Ten Com­mand­ments

El Dorado News-Times - - State - Rachel Her­zog

The sec­ond ver­sion of a Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment to be in­stalled on the grounds of the Arkansas Capi­tol is planned to have ex­tra pro­tec­tions to pre­vent it from meet­ing the same fate as the first one, which was de­stroyed less than a day af­ter it was un­veiled.

In a meet­ing Tues­day with North Lit­tle Rock ar­chi­tect Gary Cle­ments, a sub­com­mit­tee of the Capi­tol Arts and Grounds Com­mis­sion ap­proved a new plan for the new mon­u­ment’s base aimed at pre­vent­ing its de­struc­tion.

The orig­i­nal ver­sion was rammed with a car less than 24 hours af­ter it de­buted in June.

The plan calls for a 3-foot-tall con­crete bol­lard at each cor­ner of the 8-square-foot con­crete base, sim­i­lar to those ring­ing the Lit­tle Rock Nine Me­mo­rial on the Capi­tol’s north­east side.

The hip-high pil­lars will each stand about 5 feet apart, close enough that a car can’t pass through, Cle­ments ex­plained.

If some­one were to run into one, the top part would de­tach. The bol­lards need to be lifted up per­fectly straight by spe­cial ma­chin­ery to be re­moved, he said. Each weighs about 150 pounds and costs be­tween $300 and $400.

Cle­ments said the de­sign al­lows for a bar­rier with­out dis­tract­ing from the mon­u­ment but ac­knowl­edged the plan wasn’t an all-en­com­pass­ing so­lu­tion to van­dal­ism.

“You could put all the bol­lards in the world around it, but it could be run over with a bull­dozer,” he said. “This is a rea­son­able se­cu­rity mea­sure with­out go­ing to the ex­treme.”

Kelly Boyd, chief deputy sec­re­tary of state, said the re­place­ment mon­u­ment has been treated to pro­tect against graf­fiti.

Sen. Ja­son Rapert, R-Bigelow, spon­sored a 2015 law to erect the mon­u­ment on the grounds.

“There’s a lot of sce­nar­ios, but based on what I’ve been told, it’s ad­e­quate to pre­vent a re­peat of what hap­pened,” he said in an interview Tues­day.

The man ac­cused of smash­ing the mon­u­ment, Michael Tate Reed II, a 32-year-old Van Buren res­i­dent, has been de­clared un­fit to stand trial at the present time and in­def­i­nitely com­mit­ted to the State Hos­pi­tal.

The re­place­ment mon­u­ment, a 6,000-pound, 6-foot­tall marker, was com­pleted in Oc­to­ber. Like the orig­i­nal, it was paid for with pri­vate funds raised by the Amer­i­can His­tory and Her­itage Foun­da­tion, which Rapert cre­ated.

Less than two weeks af­ter the mon­u­ment was de­stroyed, the foun­da­tion had gar­nered roughly $55,000 in do­na­tions, Rapert said in July. That in­cludes $25,000 from the ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers of the Chris­tian-themed God’s Not Dead movie se­ries, the third in­stall­ment of which filmed in cen­tral Arkansas in the fall.

Other than the bol­lards, the mon­u­ment’s de­sign is the same as the orig­i­nal, Cle­ments said.

The se­cu­rity posts around the Lit­tle Rock Nine Me­mo­rial were in­stalled shortly af­ter the sculp­ture was ded­i­cated.

“Peo­ple didn’t like that mon­u­ment ei­ther — or some peo­ple didn’t,” Cle­ments said, re­call­ing some neg­a­tive com­ments he heard at the time it was be­ing in­stalled.

Mem­bers of the sub­com­mit­tee ex­pressed con­cerns that some­one could still take a sledge­ham­mer to the Ten Com­mand­ments mono­lith, but they ul­ti­mately voted to ap­prove the plan.

A pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posal will be held at the Capi­tol at 10 a.m. Thurs­day.

The plan will be up for fi­nal ap­proval from the full com­mis­sion at its Dec. 12 meet­ing.

Boyd told the sub­com­mit­tee Tues­day that he plans to pro­pose sim­i­lar safe­guards in other places on the Capi­tol grounds some time in the next year.

Rapert said he was happy to see the mon­u­ment re­in­stalled.

“We’d put it right back up” if some­one were to dam­age it again, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.