“Failure to treat Monroe Park as a public forum will expose both MPC and the city to costly litigation.”
Last month the City Council voted unanimously to approve leasing Monroe Park to a conservancy group for 30 years at the rate of $1 a year. This was done over protest from several groups saying that basically the move was an effort to privatize the park. Despite assurances from the conservancy group and City Council, opponents were unswayed and fought the effort to the last vote.
It now appears that the Virginia ACLU would like answers to questions.
The letter asks Jackson to clarify several issues surrounding the lease with the Monroe Park Conservancy. It asks whether the park will continue to be available for larger rallies and demonstrations, whether individuals and small groups will be allowed to give out leaflets, register voters and solicit petition signatures and how the conservancy’s use policies will be crafted and enforced.
“Failure to treat Monroe Park as a public forum will expose both MPC and the city to costly litigation,” reads the letter to Jackson, signed by ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca K. Glenburg. “It is therefore in the interest of all parties to ensure that the First Amendment will be respected.”