The Monument Avenue Commission announced a wide-ranging plan for community engagement at its organizational work session meeting on Tuesday.
From January through April of 2018, the Commission will conduct outreach with stakeholders, community and other interested groups designed to facilitate constructive dialogue that will allow more direct contact with residents through varying meeting formats.
Starting in December, interested groups will be able to submit a request for a delegation of Commission members to attend a meeting to discuss the monuments. The commission will endeavor to meet all reasonable requests to engage on the issue during this time period.
“The next phase of the Commission’s work will focus on productive working sessions with engaged groups and residents and facilitated though different categories such as artistic and creative design, historic preservation and social justice,” said Commission Co-Chair Christy Coleman.
“We feel the new format and focus will help best cover the myriad issues of this very complex and important discussion,” said Commission Co-Chair Gregg Kimball. “We look forward to the outreach sessions with the community.”
Commission members also discussed incorporating a general public hearing on its progress in the spring of 2018.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Commission presented an overview of the more than 1,100 public submissions received to date and announced that all submissions will be published on the Commission’s website in early December.
Richmond City Attorney Allen Jackson outlined his recent binding legal opinion that, for the time-being, the City must obtain legislative approval from the General Assembly to remove the statues but left open the possibility of interpretation through other methods. (Opinion can be viewed here).
The Commission also detailed and demonstrated the vast and growing historical resources available from the American Civil War Museum, with support from the Library of Virginia, The Valentine Museum and the Virginia Historical Society that are online at onmonumentave.com for the public to learn more.
The Commission’s web site (monumentavenuecommission.org) continues to be available for accepting public comment.