Pay for Monroe Park Renovations by

Posted: April 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Dear Members of the Richmond City Council,
 
I hope that you had an opportunity to read the important editorial in this weeks Free Press regarding Monroe Park (see below).
 
There is no rush on this Monroe Park issue because no work will begin on improvements to the park until after the 2015 bike races.  Please take time to carefully evaluate the give-away  Conservancy lease, which would give away for 30 years all public and City Council control of our oldest city park, and even give the Conservancy free utilities for 30 years!  Leasing our city park is unnecessary.  
 
The city could finance the renovation of the Monroe Park by saving the $2.68 million in public funds annually given to Venture Richmond.  Venture Richmond has three ordinances before City Council on Monday for yet more handouts; Venture Richmond is seeking three exemptions from the current City Council moratorium on real estate tax exemptions by designation.  The City Assessor’s Committee for Real Estate Exemptions by Designation unanimously recommended against Venture Richmond’s three applications for tax exemption, citing the high salaries of the Venture Richmond staff.  (The top four Venture Richmond employees collectively make over $640,000 annually.) Please reject these applications for tax exemption.  These funds can be used for the renovation of Monroe Park instead of padding Venture Richmond’s exorbitant salaries.
 
Please listen to the citizens who want Monroe Park to remain the People’s Park.  If not in Monroe Park, where will citizens demonstrate, feed the homeless, and enjoy the shade of the century-old trees?
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles Pool
(804) 788-0359
 
Richmond Free Press:
 
“Keep Monroe Public

Though Richmond’s Monroe Park serves many important functions every single day, its appearance and its facilities admittedly demand attention.

We do not endorse a specific park renovation plan.  But we do hold strong views about this public space.
It should always fulfill the purposes of a public park.  It should be free, open and inviting to all.  It should be a respite from the sometimes gritty nature of our urban environment.  There should be plenty of grass, trees and flowers.   It should be a place to come with family and friends.
We love the varied festivals and events held there by VCU and other organizations.  We applaud the weekly feeding programs and other services that are often made available there; they must be preserved.
We fervently believe that Monroe Park must always welcome a wide variety of strongly felt opinions.  A prominent area should be available for rallies large and small.
We are not anxious to lease this much-used and much-loved [park] to a private group.  When considering such “public-private” ventures, we are often too eager to sacrifice public responsibility and public accountability in return for a few dollars.  Our city should not shirk basic obligations.
We want to improve Monroe Park.  We want city government to remain its primary caretaker.  We welcome the advice and the financial contributions of all who share our vision.”

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