Thursday, September 27, 2018

Monroe Park Officially Reopened September 27



Monroe Park, one of Richmond’s oldest and most historic parks and public spaces, reopened on Thursday, September 27, 2018. 
Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney, VCU President Michael Rao, Monroe Park Conservancy President Alice Massie and other representatives from the city, VCU and the community participated in the ceremony. 
“Monroe Park is our Central Park,” said Mayor Stoney. “It is again a cultural, urban oasis, made possible thanks to the unique partnership between the city, VCU and Monroe Park Conservancy. The hard work and dedication put into the restoration of this welcoming greenspace will ensure this park provides respite, relaxation and enjoyment to city residents and visitors for years to come.” 
“Everyone at VCU will benefit from this magnificently restored Monroe Park, which now includes the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of our 21st century community,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “Generations of Richmonders have used and loved this park, including VCU faculty, staff, students and alumni. For many, it has been part of their educational experience. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Monroe Park Conservancy and City of Richmond to restore this park.” 
This progressive collaboration has resulted in the first comprehensive renovation of Monroe Park since its creation in 1851. The conservancy, a coalition of representatives from the city, VCU and the community raised $3M for the renovation. 
This was matched by a $3 million grant from the city to complete the funding for the $6 million first phase of the renovation. The Monroe Park Conservancy has a 30-year lease with the city to operate and manage the park in cooperation with the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. 
“The Monroe Park Conservancy is extremely excited to complete this first phase of construction; we look forward to the park’s future,” says Alice Massie. “Please visit this beautiful green living room. Bring a picnic, do some homework, exercise, enjoy the noise of the fountain, play ping-pong or bocce right here in the middle of the city.” 

The park was closed for this renovation in November 2016. The project was originally expected to take 12 – 18 months, but the construction schedule was delayed because of harsh weather last winter and unprecedented rainfall this year. 
Safety and security in the park will be shared by the Richmond and VCU Police Departments. A police substation, to be used by both RPD and VCUPD, has been installed in the Checkers House in the park. Security cameras have also been installed throughout the park.

In addition to the improved safety features, the renovation also includes: 
  • A complete restoration of the 1906 fountain, improvements to the railings and basin and a modernization of the water filtration system;
  • 132 new trees, more than doubling the tree count from the 2008 master plan;
  • More than 13,000 new plants and shrubs;
  • A .56 mile bioretention system around the perimeter to retain water runoff;
  • Permeable pavers at each entryway and around the fountain, with the capacity to store 
    and filter more than 25,000 cubic feet of storm water; 
  • 68 new low-energy usage LED pedestrian lights;
  • A ping pong table and game areas to include bocce, petanque and quoits
  • 20 tables and 80 chairs, all moveable;
  • Proximity to the Dominion Energy pavilion across from the Altria Theater and flexible event space for weddings, small musical performances and other activities. 
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Monroe Park will be open dawn to dusk. For more information about the park, how to reserve space and other rules and regulations, please visit the conservancy website at monroepark.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 
Alice Massie:             (804) 516-3233  |  amassie@monroepark.com
Jim Nolan:                 (804) 646-3110  |  james.nolan@richmondgov.com
Mike Porter:               (804) 828-7037  |  mrporter@vcu.edu