Posts Tagged ‘Monroe Park Renovations’

Here are some Richmond Copwatch videos of the Monroe Park Occupation being busted by the RPD on 3/17/11 on the 10th night of the Occupation of Monroe Park. More videos to come as they get uploaded. More information on Monroe Park Occupation and the upcoming court date at http://www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com

Here is part one, and part 2 of this group of footage. Significantly, all of the parts together provide evidence as to the entrapment of Mo Karn by the police.

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Wingnut Statement On The Monroe Park Renovation Plan

The current renovation plans for Monroe Park are riddled with problems and are overall, entirely unacceptable.

Our demands regarding the park are as follows:

We oppose the renovation plans in their entirety, as they are racist, classist, and a thinly veiled attempt at privatizing and capitalizing on a public park.

  1. There needs to be an immediate cessation of all attempts from MPAC and the City of Richmond to criminalize the homeless.
  2. We demand the inclusion of homeless people in all decisions relating to homelessness, housing, free food programs, etc. We demand that the homeless be given roles with the power to make decisions about their own futures in whatever groups or organizations are making these decisions.
  3. We demand the cessation of the endless promotion of the Conrad Center as the solution to homelessness in Richmond. We demand the cessation of the attempts to centralize all programs that serve the homeless at the Conrad Center, which has aggressively pushed its agenda of misinformation for years now.
  4. We demand that there be NO paid park director, especially at the outrageous salary of 150,000 a year. (more…)

On Page A7 of this week’s edition of the Richmond Free Press, Bob Powell writes an article called: Misconceptions about Monroe Park – Real Problems: Unemployment, lack of affordable housing. Powell touches on relevant issues including, racism, and classism.

Richmond Free Press Article on Monroe Park

Charles Samuels and the Monroe Park Advisory Council are putting a lot of energy into telling people that the renovations of Monroe Park must be done all at once with the entire park fenced off for the duration. The cite money as one of the major factors of this. And they have also frequently insisted that it is basically impossible to do the construction in stages. At last night’s meeting they even had Glenn Telfer, an engineer from Draper Aden Associates, get up and speak to the need to close down the entire park to do the necessary renovations.

However, I (Mo Karn) went up to Glenn Telfer after he spoke and asked him about the possibility of doing the renovation of Monroe Park in stages. He said it was of course possible, though potentially more costly. But plans for a staged renovation keepig a section of the park open the whole time could be made. He said if the City of Richmond wanted such plans drawn up he or his firm would.

If you think about it, lots of utility work and construction on public use areas is done in stages. Take roads for example. When a highway like 64 has to be repaved, they do not just shut down the entire highway to repave it at once. They repave roads in stages. Yes, it takes longer and can cost more money to do this work in stages. However, VDOT and the City of Richmond frequently do important renovation work in stages because they are balancing the financial cost with the human cost. It would be incredibly inconvenient for entire roads to be shut down for repaving, or entire lengths of roads shut down at once for working on water mains or what have you.

Public works projects are commonly done in stages, at a slightly higher cost, because the idea is to avoid inconveniencing people too much during renovations. It is possible that the only reason this has not been the suggested method of construction in this case is because the folks making decisions about the Monroe Park plans do not place value on the people they will be inconveniencing the most. At best this is an oversight on their part. One which we wish to point out.  The people who use Monroe Park ARE valuable. It would be incredibly harmful for a variety of reasons to shut down the entire park, just like it would too harmful to shut down all of Chamberlayne to re-pave it. The park is used by a lot of different people and has developed many different types of community and connection through the interactions of people in that space. Not only will homeless people be inconvenienced, but also VCU students, Oregon Hill residents, and many others.

The engineer at the meeting also mentioned that they were dealing with some unknowns in terms of what exactly is under the park as utilities.  This makes it seem even more important that a section of the park remains open. Unknowns might make the renovations take much longer than the projected time period. Who knows, this might even turn into some Big Dig fiasco. The unknowns and lengthy time period make it vital that a section of the park remain available. If not we may have VCU students who miss out on using the park for years of their Richmond experience, homeless who can’t connect to other homeless or any homeless services, and a city missing a vital greenspace.

Other things to consider are that Monroe Park has the only public restrooms and drinking fountain in the area. If these will be unavailable, there need to be others made available and well advertised.  If not, where will people go to the bathroom without risking trespassing or public urination charges? If there is not a supply of public drinking water how will people with little or no money stay hydrated through a hot Richmond summer? (more…)

Silver Persinger recorded the lengthy meeting at the Carillon last night, where Charles Samuels (2nd District City Councilman) tried to get groups who ‘serve the homeless’ to figure out what they should do when Monroe Park is closed for renovations. It was not a forum, nor really a big group discussion. However, there were about 25 or so folks associated with Food Not Bombs who came to promote the idea that the park need not and ought not be closed entirely during renovations. The meeting did not go the way Samuels or Homeward likely desired. Instead many people spoke out questioning why the park was going to be closed in its entirety, and suggested that moving services would not make up for destroying the community of people- homeless and not- who use Monroe Park on a regular basis.

Check out the videos to see how it all went down!

This first link is to the 1st half of the meeting. Which includes Charles Samuels, Homeward, and others speaking. They did not allow any questions or feedback from anyone attending the meeting, even when it was very clear that people had questions and concerns. This video also includes a Wingnut, Mo Karn,  interuptting the bureaucratic flow of things to point out that the meeting is entirely based on the false premise that the park must be completely closed. You can find that around 24:40.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/16523974

This 2nd section of the video shows how many of the groups in the room decided that the solution to the problems with closing all of Monroe Park was simply not to close the entire park!

http://player.vimeo.com/video/16528050

The Monroe Park Master Plan:  A look at the costs

by Dave Thompson

This document is intended to be a quick reference guide for the costs of renovating Monroe Park, mostly using data from the  Monroe Park Master Plan (http://www.monroepark.com/roadside/Monroe_Park_Report_2_2008.pdf).   This is a draft and may still contain some errors, please double check my numbers before you use them, and if you find anything wrong with this document, let me know so I can improve it. (more…)