Residents in Richmond are still fuming over the trees cut down behind the Science Museum of Virginia to make way for the new Redskins training camp.
The lot by Leigh Street behind the museum was cleared to make way for the camp. The project has created a lot of excitement for fans, but a lot of anger over the plowed trees. That was evident at a town hall meeting at the museum Tuesday evening. The concept of a new park wouldn't over-shadow the loss of one that was already there.
"This rape, pillage and burn kind of attack that happened here, very suddenly, is very unacceptable," said Marian Agnew, who says she would like the football fields to be open year-round to the public. The chairman of the Economic Development Authority, Rich Johnson, says the fiend would be destroyed.
"It's just a great illustration of how not to do economic development in the city of Richmond," said Suzanne Keller, another attendee at the packed meeting.
Regardless of lingering outrage, the trees are cleared. They are now being used as firewood in low-income neighborhoods.
"My jaw dropped like everybody else's did," said resident Alyse Auernheimer, of the cleared park. "But the trees are down, so it's time to move on."
The focus of the meeting eventually shifted from anger over the downed trees, to the design of the new park. The suggestions began to flow.
The EDA's plan shows a new tree for each one mowed over. There's a trail on the two-acre piece of land adjacent to the football fields, and an outdoor amphitheater. Johnson says they're welcoming suggestions.
"We heard an idea for a pond or a fountain, another concept that had not been incorporated in the design up to this point," said Johnson.
"I would like to see a tot lot. I would like to see some sort of dog park…a running and/or cycling area around the fields," added Auernheimer.
The park is slated to be finished by the same time the Redskins camp will be completed, this June or July. The trees will take 30 years to re-grow.
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