Neighbors are still very disheartened by the Monroe Park Conservancy. They keep contacting City Council members about their actions.
From Cherry Street neighbor and Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association president Todd Woodson:
Dear Councilman Agelasto,
As you know, I recently sent a list of concerns/questions to Councilperson Gray and MPC president Alice Massie regarding the renovation of Monroe Park which is scheduled to be completed in Spring of this year. Although the request for information has not been responded to, the MPC website has just been updated not only to include a new board chair for Dominion Energy, but also the revelation that the Conservancy is now short $1.5 million to complete the renovation “with all amenities”. You may have noticed that work in the park has slowed to a crawl.
The City of Richmond has already made up well over $800,000.00 in shortfalls for the park redo in addition to over $3 million in infrastructure and “soft” costs.
The Falls of the James chapter of the Sierra Club has already called for the termination of the lease to the MPC and I add my voice to that end. Monroe Park is Richmond’s oldest and most historic city park and although the MPC doesn’t get control through the lease until after the renovation, they have meddled constantly with changes to the master plan to include a most unfortunate destruction of much of the old growth tree canopy as well as other historically inappropriate park “features”.
Details of the shortfall may be found here:
Other concerns include inconsistencies of the design changes with approved master plan and work documents.
The current situation is extremely troubling as is the persistent lack of transparency and community involvement with the project. Please take action on behalf of your constituents.
Charles T. Woodson.
He followed up with this:
In addition to the MPC previously having posted their completion of fund raising on their website, they, along with Dwight Jones, made this press release in 2016 on the completion of the fundraising for the park renovation.
The “amenities” they refer to in the update on the shortfall are garbage like the gazebo and the “rill” that the citizens have spoken up against time and time again. I’ve heard you use the meaningful phrase “get back to basics” in reference to city government policy. I truly believe we need to get back to basics and restore the park as the community vetted master plan envisioned, not with architectural detritus and treeless corporate campgrounds. Ms Massie has not approached the public for financial support because she doesn’t care what the community says and prefers her corporate funds. Instead, she has fomented non transparency and divisiveness and she has indulged in back room shady corporate deals and unnecessary features/alterations of the master plan. I know you see this. Hopefully, now that there is another substantial shortfall the rest of council will see the wisdom of getting back to basics and honoring a historically sensitive renovation of the park. Please terminate the lease, especially now that there is a real parks director.
And if that was not enough…on February 18, Todd added this:
Although the planning commission requested that the Monroe Park “Conservancy” consider alternatives to the destruction of a beautiful healthy and mature Magnolia as well as a nearby Maple, this is what is left of the Maggie. It was destroyed over the last two days…
The lack of coverage in the local media is troubling.