Give Monroe Park back to the community
10/18/2018, 6 a.m.
Although the Richmond Planning Commission refused to allow the Monroe Park Conservancy to place an illuminated Dominion Energy sign inside Monroe Park, a landmark which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the conservancy has named certain parts of the park they are hawking for rental on their website, including Dominion Energy Pavilion and Ordway and Cutshaw lawns.
General Albert Ordway was a Union officer during the Civil War, while Col. Wilfred E. Cutshaw was a Confederate officer.
Although both men served our city after the war with accomplishment and dignity, I question the message that the conservancy is sending to potential park users. I also question the conservancy’s authority to do so without navigating the proper city processes.
Because Mayor Levar M. Stoney and City Councilwoman Kim Gray, 2nd District, are on the conservancy’s executive board, I wonder if there was even a vote on the matter or if this scenario was cooked up behind closed doors.
The conservancy agreed in 2014 to abide by a City Council resolution that would diversify their governing board with community stakeholders.
The conservancy should honor that agreement or its 30-year lease on the park should be terminated.
We taxpayers have invested $4 million in what many have called a botched renovation of Monroe Park, with a significant portion of the old growth tree canopy destroyed, the WWII Memorial desecrated and all public restrooms removed.
It’s time to give the park back to the Richmond community.
CHARLES T. WOODSON