RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is no longer overseeing the “reimagining” of Monument Avenue.
The office of former Gov. Ralph Northam told the museum a month before he left office that it would not be involved in any potential project moving forward. VMFA spokeswoman Amy Peck told 8News that the governor’s office shared the information in December 2021, the month before Gov. Glenn Youngkin was sworn in.
Virginia transferred the land where the Robert E. Lee monument stood to the city of Richmond. This came after the museum received taxpayer funds for the project, money that Peck told other outlets would be returned.
The VMFA did not make anyone available for an interview for this story.
“As a state agency, VMFA reports directly to the Governor,” Peck wrote in an email. “After the Commonwealth conveyed that property to the city, VMFA was informed by the Governor’s Office that it would no longer be involved with the Monument Avenue project since all of the property impacted by the project was now owned by the city.”
The city has no plan for the space yet, with a spokesman for Mayor Levar Stoney saying the administration will need consider other factors in the planning process.
“The monuments that formerly lined Monument Avenue stood for more than 100 years, and the pedestals upon which they stood were only completely removed a few weeks ago,” Jim Nolan, a Stoney spokesman, wrote in an email. “The city is going to take the time that is necessary to come up with a thoughtful and deliberate plan for equitably reimagining this gateway to our city; one that aligns with the Richmond 300 plan for this residential neighborhood.”
Peck added that the VMFA was not consulted by the city or Northam’s office about the decision. WTVR-CBS 6 first reported that VMFA was no longer involved in the project.
City Council members said they are seeking information after they were not briefed on the city’s takeover of the plan.
“I have not had a confirmed message or conversation on my end. I reached out this morning. I do not have a comment on that statement as I have not had an official response or conversation as of yet,” First District City Council member Andreas Addison wrote in an email on Friday afternoon.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.