RICHMOND (WRIC) - Big changes may be coming to Richmond's Monroe Park and the biggest of those changes would be a change in who runs the place.
The plan for Monroe Park dictates that the city will lease the park to a nonprofit for 30 years.
The group then plans to make $6 million in upgrades. Half of that will come from the City of Richmond.
The nonprofit Monroe Park Conservancy wants to change the park by making it cleaner, safer, and more welcoming.
The group wants to change walking paths, improve lighting and convert the park's center piece building into a café.
It's a combination public-private project that will result in a place that is nicer, but longer wholly public.
A few of the park's neighbors say they would love if it the park were a destination.
Monsignor Patrick Golden has worked across the street at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for six years and says some parishioners avoid the park.
"I'd say yes, and I suspect most of the people that live around here would say the same thing," he says. "Often times when you walk through you might get hit up for money or whatever, that type of thing."
Rick Lo Presti owns Piccola Italy just down the street.
"I'm all about it because it makes people come into the city more."
Lo Presti said he's fine with taxpayers footing half the bill as long as Monroe Park becomes a shining jewel for Richmond.
This plan is still just a proposal. The Richmond City Council will discuss it at the next council meeting on January 2.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond