The Confederate monument committee this week will host what's expected to be its last public input meeting before members reach a final decision on the downtown Denton statue Feb. 1.
John Baines, chairman of the 15-member Denton County committee, said the meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Southwest Courthouse in Flower Mound, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive.
The committee primarily decided to have the meeting in Flower Mound because members didn't know how long repairs to the Denton County Courthouse on the Square would take, Baines said. They also wanted to have a meeting outside of Denton to give other county residents a better chance to attend.
The courthouse has been closed since Dec. 26 after a massive fire at the Downtown Mini Mall left a layer of smoke and soot inside the building. County commissioners are expected to return to the building Tuesday, but Baines said the committee didn't want to change the meeting location at the last minute.
The committee will have three meetings left after the public input forum, and Baines expects the members to be ready to make a decision.
"I think with 15 very bright minds, I'm hoping and praying that we can find consensus," he said. "Our goal is to gather facts and information and try not to make a decision at this point."
The committee will also host its regular meeting from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the Southwest Courthouse, where discussion will focus entirely on the possibility of relocating the statue, Baines said.
The following meeting, which is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the 1896 Room of the Courthouse on the Square, will focus on adding context around the statue's existing location.
Those are the two options on the table, and members intend to "exhaust the conversation" around the issue, Baines said.
Once committee members summarize their positions during a Jan. 25 meeting in the 1896 Room, they will reach a decision the following week, Baines said.
JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.