Columbus statue

Discovery Park's Christopher Columbus Statue Removed ‘Out of Public Safety Concerns'

The May 25th killing of George Floyd inspired an effort to remove symbols of slavery and the Confederacy, which extended to other contentious figures

Tall statue stands on a stone pedestal with a cloudy sky in the background
Joe Little, NBC 7

The polarizing statue of Christopher Columbus that typically rests at Chula Vista’s Discovery Park has been placed in storage to avoid it from being vandalized or taken down amid similar instances nationwide.

The city of Chula Vista announced the statue, which had been vandalized in the past, has been placed in storage “out of public safety concerns.” It was removed and stored early Friday morning.

During last year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the controversial statue of the explorer was vandalized with red paint. Its presence has long been the subject of debate to the point where the city council weighed whether or not to remove it, following a request for consideration by the Chula Vista Human Relations Commission.

Residents in favor of removing the statue suggested at the February meeting that Columbus Day be renamed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day like other cities have done so. Some also asked the city council to consider renaming Discovery Park under the guidance of the Kumeyaay Native American tribes.

A Christopher Columbus statue in Chula Vista was vandalized this Columbus Day. NBC 7's Joe Little is with locals debating whether the paint shoud be removed, or the statue itself.

Those who were opposed to removing the statue said its presence preserved history.

Columbus’ statue has been at the park since 1991. It is unclear when it will return.

A nationwide effort to tear down statues of controversial historical figures, such as slave traders, Confederate leaders and Columbus, himself, has had groups of people removing the sites. The May 25th killing of George Floyd inspired a movement to remove symbols of slavery and the Confederacy, which extended to other contentious figures.

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