FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville began removing a “Black Lives Matter” mural around the Market House on Monday.

The City is decommissioning the mural that was approved by the city council in March 2020.

The painting will be covered with a black coating that the City said is consistent with the previous finish.

“I would like to commend the Council for making this bold statement immediately following the tragic death of George Floyd and highlighting the racial injustice across America,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said. “Members of the Fayetteville City Council hope 2021 will be a year of healing and unity.”

The city council approved the mural as “a time-limited artistic piece.”

The mural was vandalized in late July.

The removal process will take several days.

Some are glad to see the mural go.

“Instead of Black versus white it’s time to move on and become a Fayetteville community again,” said Dawn Adkins-Hurley, who is originally from Fayetteville.

Others, including one of the artists, say now is not the time to start washing away progress.

“A few days after the U.S. Capitol incident, a week from MLK’s birthday and a month away from Black History. This is not the time. This was the wrong message at the wrong time,” said Yolanda Burse.

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin says the mural was always temporary. He says the removal was decided on in December. 

“Looking back at this, communication probably should’ve been better. Hindsight we’ll have that conversation with the managers office if the timing could have been better, but certainly we know with everything that’s happening in Washington we need to be bringing the community together,” said Colvin. 

However council member Courtney Banks McLaughlin says she and some other council members were not notified of the removal. 

“I was unaware of the removal today, just as many others council members. Although, the mural was not permanent, council did not take a formal vote nor a consensus of the removal. I am very disappointed in the lack of communication and decisions that were made,” said Banks-McLaughlin.

Colvin said he hopes the decision won’t lead to any community backlash or protests. However some in town say things already feel tense.

Colvin says there are discussions about finding a long term location for a similar project in the future, but says no decisions have been made so far.

“We encourage Fayetteville residents to share their thoughts on the future of the Market House with members of the Council. This is a topic we will address with new ideas in the coming months. We look forward to great things ahead in our community,” Colvin said.