Relocation expected to take place sometime this week

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FARMINGTON — The Four Corners Historical Monument Project will move the Ten Commandments monument from its current location on the lawn in front of Bloomfield City Hall to church property.

The city and the organization had 30 days from Oct. 18 to remove the monument from city property after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving whether it could be displayed on public property in Bloomfield.

Kevin Mauzy, the founder of the Four Corners Historical Monument Project, said the monument will be moved this week, and the day it will be moved depends on the weather. He emphasized that no city money will be used to pay for the relocation.

The monument will be moved a short distance to the First Baptist Church of Bloomfield's property. It will be displayed by the church's recreation center, which faces North First Street. The location is close to the intersection of U.S. Highway 550 and U.S. Highway 64.

Mauzy said the central location was one of the reasons the site was chosen.

"It's something that the whole community can enjoy and appreciate," he said.

The Ten Commandments monument was placed in front of City Hall in 2011 and within a year, two Bloomfield residents filed a lawsuit alleging the monument violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. Several courts upheld the plaintiff's position. In 2014, a district court judge ordered Bloomfield to have it removed. The order was placed on hold while the city appealed the case.

When the U.S. Supreme Court declined the city's petition to hear the case, it meant the city had to comply with the judge's order to have the monument removed.

While some residents have asked the city to sell the small plot of land where the monument is located, the city of Bloomfield said in a Facebook post that the sale would not be allowed. In the post, the city said it would be considered a sham transaction to sell approximately 10 square feet of land in front of City Hall.

The Four Corners Historical Monument Project is accepting donations to help pay for moving the monument. According to a GoFundMe account that has since been deactivated, the organization was hoping to raise $7,000 to move the monument. Information about donating can be found on the Four Corners Historical Monument's website, fchmproject.homestead.com.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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