As the Monroe Park Conservancy continues to tighten its corporate control of Monroe Park, Oregon Hill residents are becoming increasingly discouraged and alarmed by how it is gradually stripping away its authentic, historic features. In addition to questionably removing healthy, old-growth trees, the fountain fence is no longer there. Supposedly, the 1920’s fencing is being stored offsite during park renovations and will be returned.
Laurel Street neighbor Charles Pool has used the Freedom of Information Act to gather more information. According to the Monroe Park drawings that he received, the fencing is being replaced and only the posts restored. This seems to conflict with specs provided where the decorative metal railings were to be repaired. It is doubtful that the City’s Urban Design Committee gave permission to replace this historic fencing. At 125 feet long, the fencing is substantial and curved to match the perimeter of the fountain.
Undoubtedly, low-grade hollow-core, easily damaged, pickets probably will replace the existing solid substantial fencing that could last hundreds of years if properly repaired and kept painted. The fencing is an important part of the historic fabric of Monroe Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Monroe Park fountain fencing pickets were dumped in outside storage at DPW storage at 810 Forest Lawn Drive. Photos from Charles Pool show that the pickets are all in excellent condition with practically no evidence of rust. (Many neighbors remember what happened to the stone balustrade that was removed at the Oregon Hill overlook- we were told that it was in “storage” but the stone later found a decade later in a heap behind the Carillon.)
It is important for the public to know that the authentic fencing is slated to be replaced without approval from the UDC.
It is the opinion of this community news site that the authentic, solid Monroe Park fencing should be fully restored, not replaced.
So one thing that happened at the last Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting (2/28) was a presentation on possibilities for new stop signs at intersections for neighborhood traffic.
This sort of thing has been requested multiple times before in regard to speeding and dangerous collisions, but for different reasons has never been acted on.
At the meeting, a City traffic engineer presented two options for stops. The proposed options are for a flipping of the stop signs at the circled intersections to give the east-west streets right of way and have the north-south streets stop. This way, no one direction always has right of way, and would need to stop at roughly every other intersection. This traffic pattern is called basket weaving, and has been used successfully in Maymont. These options are in no way set in stone, and are up for discussion and suggested alternatives. ‘Option 1’ suggests new stop signs at the intersections of Albemarle and S. Laurel, Spring and S. Pine, China and S. Laurel, and Holly and S. Pine. ‘Option 2’ suggests new stop signs at Albemarle and S. Cherry, Albemarle and S. Pine, Spring and S. Laurel, China and S. Pine, and Holly and S. Laurel.
Neighbors are asked to let the neighborhood association know which option they think is best as well as any other input. The plan is to discuss this more at the next OHNA meeting and then get back to the City traffic engineer and Councilperson Agelasto’s office with some thoughts and decisions.
The Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association will meet Tuesday, February 28, at the St Andrews parish house on S Laurel St next to the sanctuary at 7pm. All Oregon Hill residents are welcome.
Councilperson Parker Agelasto has released his latest 5th District newsletter and it’s packed, so packed that you will need to follow this link to read it all:
From WRIR radio show Open Source RVA:
Open Source RVA has been following the progress of the Monroe Park renovation for more than three years, and our next episode will explore breaking news on the controversial dealings of the private Monroe Park Conservancy, which has been given control of the park. Here is former Monroe Park Advisory Council member, and Sierra Club Green Giant award-winner, Todd Woodson on a hastily-scheduled meeting that is happening next week that would apparently (no pun intended) cover up the destruction of healthy trees in the park. He also has a call-to-action:
“As you’ve probably noticed, the historic tree canopy in Monroe Park has recently been decimated by the removal of mature healthy trees. Last December, 14 beautiful trees were destroyed illegally- 7 without the requisite variances and 7 after being declared dead, although photographic evidence refutes that claim.
Now, in typical Richmond form, there is an application before the Richmond Urban Design Committee (UDC) this Thursday, February 9, 2017 seeking approval of a component in the updated Monroe Park Plan called “Tree Removal Plan” – this “plan” seeks to legitimize this tragic removal of tree canopy, even though the trees were destroyed over a month ago without public notice. We’ve seen the tree damage Richmond is capable of – the Redskins Training Park as well as Kanawha Plaza and the Maggie Walker Memorial live oak.
I urge you to read the following paragraph and if you agree, please sign and forward to the UDC at Kathleen.Onufer@Richmondgov.com
‘Dear members of the Urban Design Committee
I am opposed to the component in the updated Monroe Park Plan seeking approval this Thursday, February 9, 2017 entitled “Tree Removal Plan”. Mature healthy trees were removed in December 2016 with no public notice or requisite variance. I support a full investigation into this loss which is not only aesthetic and ecological, but constitutes a financial loss to the taxpayers of Richmond as well. I also support holding those accountable for the replacement of these trees. Thank you,'”
There is a special election for the 71st District Virginia House of Delegates tomorrow, February 7.
It looks like Oregon Hill voters who reside north of the Expressway are part of the 71st District and can vote in the election tomorrow. This boundary is confusing and aggravating.
There are three candidates running to replace Jennifer McClellan (recently elected to VA Senate):
John Barclay – Libertarian candidate, public school teacher at Franklin Military.
Jeff Bourne – Democrat, 3rd District School Board Representative, Deputy Attorney General at Virginia Office of the Attorney General.
Regie Ford – Independent, Air Force veteran, past President of the Richmond Crusade for Voters.
From FaceBook Event page:
Come join your fellow Trail Users for an open discussion about the Richmond Trail System. Hosted by the City of Richmond & James River Park Trail Crew this moderated forum will touch on…
1) The History, ownership, and roles of the park system
2) Diversity of users, their needs, and park volume
3) Sustainability and trail design
A Q&A session will allow the public to voice their ideas & concerns. Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GY27L7D to submit.
Wednesday at 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Byrd Park Roundhouse
700 S Davis Ave, Richmond, Virginia 23220
The planners working on the Richmond Transit Network Plan have released their Draft Recommended Network. This is your first look at what the future of Richmond’s public transportation system will look like.
Public meetings will be held throughout the second half of January. Each meeting will begin with a presentation followed by a question answer period and open house.
January 18th, 12:00–2:00 PM, Main Public Library (101 E. Franklin Street)
January 18th, 6:00–8:00 PM, DMV Central Office (2300 W. Broad Street)
Click here for planner’s website: http://www.richmondtransitnetwork.com
After studying the proposals, you can provide feedback and comments on the Recommended Network by taking their survey.
There’s also a quick review on the RVA Rapid Transit group’s website:
More donated gravel was spread this morning on the 600 block alleys. This follows previous volunteer work.
Correction: Neighbors actually raise money for this gravel. Volunteers donated their time though.