As predicted, Northside’s Wingnut Anarchist Collective, a group heavily involved in the weekly Food Not Bombs feeding, has published a critique of what they are calling attempts to genrify Monroe Park.
Monroe Park, like many public facilities could use improvements. More trashcans, chess tables, a playground, better restrooms, more benches etc. are all amenities which could be beneficial. But if the price of getting these improvements is increased pressure on the homeless and on anyone involved in programs to provide free services, it is not worth it. Monroe park needs to remain a place where anyone is welcome. Public parks are one of the few places where it is safe and legal for homeless and poor people to hang out. Trying to push out the homeless is an attack.
The city recently unveiled $6 million in renovation/upgrade plans for Monroe Park. Alice McGuire Massie, president of the city’s Monroe Park Advisory Council, says that:
the renovation should address concerns about park safety but is not intended to move the homeless elsewhere. At the same time, City Councilman Charles R. Samuels, in whose district the park lies, said he’s trying to encourage feeding and other homeless-outreach efforts to be redirected to the Conrad Center in Richmond’s East End or other nonprofit service locations.
“The renovation is for anybody and everybody,” Massie said. “It just to raise the quality of life to a higher standard.”