Conservationists demand halt to Monroe Park renovations

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As Richmond’s Monroe park gets a $6 million renovation, a pair of citizen watchdogs claim healthy trees at the city’s oldest park are being cut down illegally.

Todd Woodson and Turk Sties, former members of the Monroe Park Advisory Council, are calling on city hall to place a stop work order on the project.

“Some of the trees have already been taken down,” Woodson told 8News. “You can see the park is already pretty clean of trees. Many trees, including all these street trees, are scheduled to be taken down.”

Woodson went on to claim the removal of some trees is in violation of the master plan city council approved in 2009, contending that renovation overseers have illegally cut down healthy trees to build an unapproved concrete plaza.

“Whoever called for them to be removed should be held responsible for the cost,” Sties added.

A demolition plan shows trees to be removed — including 20 on the street– that were not marked in the master plan.

By city law, applicants must get a permit to take down trees from city property. The city’s tree removal list for December shows nothing in Monroe Park.

“Should we find that these trees were taken down without a permit, then immediately they must be put back with the largest caliper tree that’s available,” said Woodson. From there, he is pushing for a full investigation of the Monroe Park Conservancy.

“If it’s found that they’ve not lived up to the deal, then I ask that their lease with the city be terminated.”

8News reached out to Monroe Park Conservancy president Alice Massie for comment, only to receive an out-of-office auto reply email. We will update this story with a response from the Conservancy once we hear back.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.       

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