NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The design for a new statue for Wooster Square in New Haven has been approved to replace the Christopher Columbus statue that was removed in 2020.

The new statue that will honor Italian-American heritage was approved at a Board of Alders meeting on Monday night. The statue depicting an Italian family will be just feet away from where the Christopher Columbus statue once stood before it became the center of protests and dispute.

“The design for the new monument has now received all necessary approvals from the Historic District Commission, the Cultural Affairs Commission, the Parks Commission, and the Board of Alders,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. “I think that deserves a round of applause.”

As social justice movements swept the nation, the City of New Haven made history by taking down the 1892 statue depicting the Italian explorer. Protestors say it represented European oppression while Columbus supporters argue the Italian-American symbolism.

Now, there will be a new design of an Italian father and mother with a young son pointing upward and a daughter holding a book and wearing a cross. The name is ‘Indicando la via al futuro’ or ‘Pointing the way to the future.’

“Tells a story of sacrifice, hard work, building relationships that gave these immigrants the chance of a better life,” said Bill Iovanne, Co-Chair of the Wooster Square Monument Committee.

The next step is sculptor Marc-Anthony Massaro will create the model then it will be installed. In the meantime, the monument committee hopes to raise $300,000 to fund it all.

“We will continue to engage the community throughout the site plan and construction process because it was the input from the community that is represented in this public work of art and create something we can all be proud of,” Iovanne said.

The statue will be modeled in clay and then cast in bronze. The monument committee hopes it will be complete within 18 months.