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“Charters of Freedom” Monument Nixed by Historical Resources Commission

By Bob Conrad
Published: Last Updated on

The plan to put a “charters of freedom” monument at the downtown Washoe County courthouse has been voted down by the City of Reno’s Historical Resources Commission.

The monument was promoted by Truckee Meadows Community College, which announced in May that its architecture students participated in a competition for the monument’s design.

The sculpture would have displayed the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. But the city commission yesterday unanimously denied the plan.

Commission member Emerson Marcus said the project was not a good fit for the location.

“It’s between two of the most historic buildings in Reno, the Riverside and the Washoe County Courthouse,” he said. “The story of this space needs to focus on the history of these two Reno monuments.

“A Charters of Freedom monument would be perfect at the Federal Courthouse a couple blocks south, but not between the Riverside and the Washoe County Courthouse.”

Other concerns about the monument’s intent were noted since first reported on ThisisReno. Dennis Myers, reporting for the Reno News & Review, wrote that the group behind the effort, the nonprofit Foundation Forward, was “noted for their support of conservative causes.”

According to Myers:

“The courthouse reading display project is used by FFI to fault public education, as in language in a Foundation Forward video: ‘After one visit, these grade school children will know more about our history and government than most of the people in the United States.'”

The group’s founder, Vance Patterson, ran on a Tea Party platform. A 2010 campaign video shows Patterson claiming that the Constitution is under attack by liberals.

The Washoe Board of County Commissioners gave the first approval of the monument last year.

Foundation Forward has installed Charters of Freedom monuments in various states around the county. Carson City has a Charters of Freedom monument at its courthouse plaza.

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