Dear Levar and #NewRVACouncil...

by Jessee Perry

Dear Levar, Andreas, Kim, Chris, Kristen, Parker, Ellen, Cynthia, Reva, and Michael:

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays! We were going to wait to start bothering y'all until after you were sworn in but in #TrumpsWorld, all bets are off and chaos reigns supreme. I don't know if you've happened to drive anywhere in the vicinity of Monroe Park in the last 30 days, but maybe you noticed there's a screen fence all the way around it now? Maybe you have heard about how Richmond Food Not Bombs has had to relocate to Abner Clay Park to feed people, but encountered permitting issues? 

Last Friday, WRIR's OpenSource RVA aired an interview with former Monroe Park Advisory Council Members Todd Woodson and Turk Sties regarding city plans from December 12, 2016 to remove just over 20 trees from the perimeter of the park. 

December 12, 2016 City Tree Removal Schematic

December 12, 2016 City Tree Removal Schematic

This tree removal plan is in direct opposition of the Monroe Park Master Plan. Many of the trees tagged for removal in the schematic are labeled to remain in the master plan. 

Monroe Park Master Plan Vegetation Removals Plan. 

Monroe Park Master Plan Vegetation Removals Plan. 

As well as contradicting the Monroe Park Master Plan, it also raises questions on how these trees got slated for removal. Based on the City's Tree Policy Ordinance , there should have been a permitting process with approvals. In addition, Monroe Park Conservancy's lease does not start until the renovations are completed. What implication do these removals have on their lease? More than we, as Richmond residents, want answers as to how this happened, we want the removals halted immediately. The old administration has been silent. Please ask your colleagues to act immediately and call for the tree removals to be halted. Stand up and voice your opinion on a project that will be taking place during your tenure, once you are sworn in in less than a week. 

Photo Credit: Todd Woodson

Photo Credit: Todd Woodson

Photo Credit: Todd Woodson

Photo Credit: Todd Woodson