Ask Axios: Fencing around Lee Circle could come down by fall
Question: When will the fencing around the former Robert E. Lee monument come down?
Answer: Fall at the earliest, Mayor Levar Stoney's press secretary, Jim Nolan, tells Axios.
- Nolan says the grass needs time to reestablish itself after all the heavy construction equipment on the circle and that the irrigation system needs to be repaired.
- "The area will then be landscaped and planted with shrubbery until a longer term use for the space is determined," he says.
Flashback: The state installed an 8-foot metal fence around Lee Circle in January 2021.
- The area had become a rallying point for activists, who planted community gardens, erected basketball hoops and renamed the area Marcus-David Peters Circle, in honor of a teacher killed by Richmond police in 2018 during a mental health break.
- At the time, officials said they put up the fence so crews would be ready to remove the 60-foot pedestal and statue of Confederate General Lee, but a series of legal challenges delayed work until September 2021.
What's next: The state initially tasked the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with developing a long-term plan for Monument Avenue, but former Gov. Ralph Northam abruptly changed course after Republican Glenn Youngkin won last year's governor's race.
- Northam's administration transferred the property to the city before Youngkin took office and the VMFA bowed out of the project, returning $1 million the state had set aside for the project.
- So far, the city has yet to announce any long-term planning effort for the site.
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