Christopher Columbus statue removal debate returns to Allegheny County

PITTSBURGH — A years-long debate on whether or not to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from Schenley Park has returned to Allegheny County courts.

According to the Associated Press, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America filed a lawsuit in October 2020 after the Pittsburgh Art Commission voted to remove the statue from the park. The decision was supported by Pittsburgh’s then-mayor, Bill Peduto.

That lawsuit alleged that the city could not override a city council ordinance that approved the installation of the statue in 1955. The city countered the argument by saying the legislation was more akin to accepting a gift and that no council action to rescind it was needed, the AP reported.

After both sides failed to find a resolution for two years, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge John McVay Jr. dismissed the ISDA’s complaint because the statue was in a park that was owned by the city.

Two years later, the debate was sparked again after the Commonwealth Court wrote Friday that McVay erred in concluding that the group’s claims “are barred in their entirety,” rejecting what it called the idea that claims of violations of the city’s charter, code and ordinance were “irrelevant procedural quibbles,” the Associated Press reports.

The statue was covered up after the ruling in 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW