—Matthew Long, Staff Writer—
Monroe Park, known as the “Central Park of Virginia”, was closed on Monday, November 14th for 12-18 months for a $6 million extensive renovation project. This will include various infrastructure upgrades to underground gas, water, and electrical systems. New trees will be planted, and there will be a primary focus on arbor care during the first phase of reconstruction. The light poles and lighting fixtures of the park will be removed and recycled into other parks, along with the antique benches which will all be removed and saved by the Monroe Park Conservancy group.
The 8-acre park in the heart of the VCU Campus is expected to reopen around this time next year. Once the project has been completed, it will be fully sustainable, including major renovations and an upgrade to the aesthetic of the park. The installation of new LED lighting is included in the project, along with completely new gardens filled with native plants and flowers, according to a press release from Monroe Park Conservancy. The park’s landmark fountain will be upgraded into a vibrant water display, with the addition of a gathering area and a gazebo. The less-than-stellar bathroom complex is expected to be transformed into a small business cafe, there will also be a new theater with an accompanying lawn for performers and musicians, and a ping pong table donated by a VCU alumni.
Supporters of this renovation project said the revitalized Monroe Park will be an urban oasis for nearby residents, VCU faculty, staff, and the students living around it. VCU has committed to provide full maintenance of this renovated park. The renovation of Richmond’s oldest city park was made possible through the success of a $3 million private fundraising campaign that was supported by Altria and Dominion.
Header Photo Courtesy of Monroe Park Conservancy
Photos Courtesy of WRIC