Instead of Another Monroe Park Question, Another Controversy
From Oregon Hill resident Todd Woodson: In 2008 a Monroe Park Master Plan was adopted by the City to make much needed improvements to the City’s oldest Park. Among the many improvements are to restore the dilapidated concrete sidewalks on its perimeter from cracked and perished concrete slab to brick pavers with substantial green growing […]
From Oregon Hill resident Todd Woodson:
In 2008 a Monroe Park Master Plan was adopted by the City to make much needed improvements to the City’s oldest Park. Among the many improvements are to restore the dilapidated concrete sidewalks on its perimeter from cracked and perished concrete slab to brick pavers with substantial green growing strips to plant new street trees. The benefits are many- brick pavers are porous so runoff wont be sent into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the planting strips promote healthier street trees, repairs can be made in small areas should anything happen and they are historic and look great.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a big part of the sidewalk on Laurel street across from the Landmark Theatre pulled up yesterday for renovation. Upon speaking with the contractor and a city worker, my worst fears were realized: VCU had requested the sidewalks be replaced as they were dangerous to their students and the City, in its haste to obey, contracted the entire sidewalk- from Franklin to Main, to be demolished and replaced with- no not brick pavers and trees as the Master Plan dictates, but concrete slabs- which would be ripped up for the correct fix in the next few years. Surely the sidewalks need replacing but they haven’t changed in the last 25+ years, so what’s with the haste?
One should ask “Was VCU NOT aware of the Monroe Park master plan before their request?”. The answer is not only is VCU aware of it, but they participated in its creation.
I measured the area today and it is 860 feet long by 15 feet wide comprising a square footage of 12,900. At an estimated $5 a square foot to pour the concrete, the bill for this two year fix is $64,500.00 and with the second demolition, this boondoggle could swell to well over 100 grand. That’s YOUR taxpayer dollars wasted, Richmond friends.
Hoping to stem off this waste, I contacted the interim Director of Public Works, the auditor Umesh Dalal and many other denizens of the city payroll a day before the pouring and advised them of the conflict. Still, the trucks showed up today and a section of the sidewalk was poured and screed- INCONSISTENT to the Master Plan. I think most of City Hall has gone home for the holiday, leaving their mistakes to burn us in their absence.
I respectfully request that the City of Richmond and its contractors, cease all non conforming repair work on Monroe Park sidewalks and deliberate once you return to work and proceed with fixing the sidewalks RIGHT the FIRST TIME and stop WASTING our money. You are aware of the Master Plan.
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