Apr 11, 2023 - News

Lee Circle fence to come down in the spring

An empty field surrounded by fencing

Lee Circle in June 2022. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

The fencing around Lee Circle should come down this spring, City Councilwoman Katherine Jordan wrote Friday in her weekly 2nd District newsletter.

What's happening: Last week, the city began prep work inside the concrete barrier and 8-foot-tall fence that for 27 months has surrounded the site where the massive Robert E. Lee statue once stood.

  • Over the next few weeks, city workers will install irrigation and implement a temporary landscaping plan of $100,000 worth of mostly native plants.
  • The fence and barrier will then come down, Jordan wrote.

A spokesperson for the City, Petula Burks, confirmed to Axios that "there is some movement" in prepping the greenspace, but did not respond to a request for a timeline.

Why it matters: In summer 2020, the circle became a focal point for racial justice 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.

The intrigue: The city is now referring to the area as simply a "traffic circle," according to Planning Commission details, and implementing the plan that was designed to discourage pedestrian access.

Of note: The large greenspace has attracted pedestrians throughout its more than 100-year history, from summer sunbathers and neighbors walking their dogs to tourists who turned out for various Confederate holidays.


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