RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The temporary landscape design for the Robert E. Lee monument’s former site is complete.
In the design plan, drafted by the design firm VHB, the circle will be filled with small trees, ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs. According to the plan, the city identified a need to have temporary planting in the circle until a permanent design is determined that reflects the character and history of the site.
The proposed plan also aligns with the temporary landscape plans recently installed in other locations on Monument Avenue and across the city where confederate statues once stood. Brooke Hagerott said when she lived in D.C. they had a similar landscape design.
“It just made me excited to go and walk outside cause I’d like to see how the trees and flowers would change over time,” she said. “It forced me to get out and walk around more and really enjoy the environment I was in, so I like them.”
The Lee statue was removed in September 2021 and sent to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center. Donna Hagerott, like many others, is anxiously waiting to see what changes are coming.
“Richmond has such a history. It’s nice to see like the next steps,” she said.
She’d also like to see students contributing to the transformation of Monument Avenue.
“For students who live here, let them feel like they’re a part of that so they could tell their kids. Because hopefully they stay here and make this community theirs longterm,” Hagerott said.
The temporary landscaping design will be sent to the Urban Design Committee (UDC) for a review. The committee said for safety reasons, they will look for visibility through the traffic circle.
They will also check for native and pollinator species to be planted, a species pallet that will provide year round interest–like flowing plants that flower at different times of the year, and plant species that can survive in the urban environment.
The UDC said it will make a recommendation to the Planning Commission at its September 8th meeting. The Planning Commission is scheduled to have the final say at its meeting on September 19th.
Councilor Katherine Jordan wrote a post on Facebook Thursday saying city council members will also have the opportunity to sign off on the temporary landscape design plan on September 26th.