Posts Tagged ‘todd woodson’

Monroe Park Renovation Plan

 

Here is what we currently know about the status of the Monroe Park Renovation Plans.

Most of this information has come from a discussion with 5th district City Councilman Parker Agelasto, the January 2008 Monroe Park Master Plan all 129 pages, our experience in 2010/2011 with campaigning to keep Monroe Park open, and the 2014/2015 adopted fiscal plan for the City of Richmond.

The current City budget approves 435,000 to go towards the renovation (page 313 of fiscal plan 2014/2015). The City money is to go towards the more nuts and bolts aspects of lighting, sewer, drainage, and pavers.

There is not currently a date set for the beginning of this stage of the renovation, and has been no communication as of yet as to how much of the park will be shut down at a time.

Remember, our biggest demand in 2010/2011 being that the entirety of Monroe Park never be closed at once.

Now that the City has approved the budget, the Monroe Park Advisory Council- the folks who originally developed this plan, can push to get donations to cover the rest of the aspects of their 6.2 million plan.

Additionally – and this is crucial- the idea is for Monroe Park to be placed under the guidance of a directing board who will privately control the park. Who is on this board, how they are elected or appointed, how they qualify, how representative they are of the people who use the park, how their decisions can be challenged by citizens, etc. are all just some of the aspects that will need to be thoughtfully and carefully addressed in a Memorandum of Understanding between the board and the City.

The process of developing the MOU needs to be transparent and well publicized.

Some aspects of the Monroe Park Renovation Plan are troubling and outdated. There are extensive articles written on www.monroecampaign.wordpress.com and www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com which dissect the faults in the plan.

Some parts of the plan- like accommodating food carts are already outdated due to the swift creation of a food cart culture and bureaucracy in the City generally. The whole Amphitheater section of the plan just seems redundant, with Brown’s island nearby already acting as a thriving outdoor venue.

The pages in the Monroe Park Master Plan detailing the budget and private security also reveal some of the issues that we are likely to run up against. Page 61 of the Master Plan reveals the intention of a privately financed and privately managed park. They also want to incorporate private security. Things they want the private security to prevent include “loud cursing…rummaging through garbage cans, spitting… feeding pigeons and playing loud music” (page 107). The security would cost over 200,00 in the first year and increase yearly.

The plan revealed on these pages for the ongoing management of Monroe Park shows that the authors of this plan desire to have Monroe Park act more as an events venue and less as a casual park. They have budget outlines for an events manager, a park manager, an administrative assistant, and an office for the new management entity. The programming and administrative departments alone all costs over 200,000 in the first year and increases yearly.

200,000 a year could do SO much more good in this City than to manage events at Monroe Park – especially when we have many other outdoor and indoor event venues available. For example, Food Not Bombs serves a free vegan meal every Sunday in Monroe Park on an annual budget of less than 2,000 – 100 other groups operating on the same model could be funded to distribute food weekly on 200,000. 200,000 would cover 133,333 bus rides for houseless or low income people in Richmond. These are just a few of the many awesome things that could be done with 200,000 aside from general administration of a park.

These are just SOME of the issues with the Monroe Park Renovation Plan/ Master Plan. There are many many others. If anyone would like to talk in person, interview, or look over some documents together please get in touch. If you hear anything about the plan, start dates, MOU, meetings around this issue etc. please get in touch as well. Www.wingnutrva.org wingnut_collective@yahoo.com 804 303 5449 2005 Barton Avenue RVA 23222

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Channel 8 news aired a piece tonight in response to Todd Woodson’s  inaccurate post on oregonhill.net – Unfortunately the news coverage did little to correct the many errors and problems in Todd’s original post.

While they had the opportunity to show both sides of this issue, Rochelle Dean, or some editor at Channel 8 news clearly decided not to. Rochelle Dean actually contacted Food Not Bombs today, and came to the Wingnut to interview Eric Scott about this situation. She recorded a lengthy interview with him, and then also engaged in conversation about the issue with 2 bystanders. Eric got about 10 seconds in the actual news coverage, while Todd Woodson received much more.

Todd Woodson is only mentioned in this ‘news’ piece as an Oregon Hill resident, not a member of the Monroe Park Advisory Council, the group pushing for a particular set of renovation plans that are clearly part of a gentrification agenda. That would pretty clearly be a relevant aspect to mention in this story.

Also, the fact that the time stamp on Todd’s photos does not match the day he says he was there, as mentioned in a previous Wingnut post, was not included in Channel 8’s story. That discrepancy deserves acknowledgement. (more…)

This article was posted on the Oregon Hill neighborhood website by Todd Woodson. He gives his perspective on the Monroe Park Advisory Council and the history leading up to their current renovation plans. What is more interesting than the article itself is the comments. Online Commenter ‘Michael’ does a really nice job of arguing the reasons for keeping Monroe Park open during renovations.

‘Michael’, who is not associated with Food Not Bombs or other programs in the park  says:

“Renovations are done to important city infrastructure in segments ALL THE TIME. We don’t close the entire Fan District to address water pipes and repaving and whatever else has been worked on in the city. The park is an important resource to a lot of people, it would be very sad for it to be completely closed off for 18+ months.

As I understand it, the park has been used for feeding programs because of its openness and central location. It is a gathering place, a public space where people who aren’t as fortunate as you and I can go to gather their wits without having to deal with being constantly observed and shuffled about by owners of a building. It is a free space in a central location with public facilities, with lighting and nature and a variety of patrons. Its a special place that should not be shut down in the opinion of quite a many number of people who are tax-payers and concerned citizens.

Why not fight for this or that? I’m not in the business of deciding what is better for other people. This is a public place that others CHOOSE to utilize. We don’t have to bus people in and out, no one has to maintain a building, no one has to be shut away from the public eye, this is a public space and in my heart I believe it should remain that way. Want to renovate? Great, do renovations in the park, but find a way to do it without closing it down and locking people out. (more…)

The Monroe Park Advisory Council removed from its website the document of their plans to renovate Monroe Park. This was a publicly available document up until sometime recently when they apparently decided to no longer make it available. Fortunately, at the Wingnut, we had saved a copy of this document. We have now uploaded it onto archive.org to make is publicly accessible again.

http://www.archive.org/details/MonroeParkRenovationPlans2008

You can’t view it on archive.org, but if you right click the PDF link, you can select, ‘Save Link As’ to download the renovation plans to your computer. If you can’t download because you are on a public access computer, you can come by the Wingnut Anarchist Collective to view the file on our computer. We have open hours on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-10 and you can call 804 303 5449 to arrange to stop by some other time.

Make sure you check out page 61 on the bottom left side where it has the desired ratio of homeless and homeless appearing people to everyone else- 75-100:1. Read about the plans for private security for the park.

Please download, print, and share this document with others so you can understand their plans for renovation, and also see first hand some of the troubling aspects.  When confronted, MPAC pretty much refused to take accuontability for the plan that they developed.  MPAC has also done things to deliberately become more secretive- removing their email contacts for MPAC members from their website, lying about no longer having meetings, and apparently removing the content from the link to the plan o their website. (more…)