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Veterans’ relative: Electrical unit beside WWII monument is ‘disrespectful’

RICHMOND, Va. -- An Oregon Hill resident is lobbying the city to have an electrical unit moved after it was installed within feet of the World War II memorial at Monroe Park. The memorial, which has been in the park since 1951, lists the names of Richmond natives who were killed during the war.

Charles Woodson noticed the electrical box last week, and thought it was an odd placement since the original master plan called for electrical units to be installed elsewhere.

Woodson sent an open records request to the city, and documents show the project managers had to move the unit because of different construction near VCU. The university is building a new dorm building across the street from where the original location for the electric box.

Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson

Woodson said the change was not approved by city planners.

"I'm afraid they might have done this because it was the easiest thing,” Woodson said. “It was incumbent upon them to go back and get their approval for another location, and they did not do that.”

CBS 6 reached out the Richmond’s Director of Planning and Development about these claims. Director Mark Olinger wrote in an email that their department is “still doing discovery, as we just found out about this.” Olinger did not provide further details.

The electrical boxes behind the memorial.

The electrical boxes behind the memorial.

Woodson said there are “smart minds” on both the city’s Planning Commission and Urban Design Committee (UDC), and he wants them to review the situation.

"They deserve to look at this, see the facts, and then make a decision on where the most appropriate place to put that electrical device is,” Woodson said.

Latane Crittenden Miller

Latane Crittenden Miller

Latane Crittenden Miller, who has three family members listed on the memorial, was appalled by the placement of an electrical until so close to a memorial honoring the fallen.

A few days ago, the city in Belgium where her great uncle’s plane was shot down in 1941 named a bridge in his honor. She called the placement of the electric unit at the memorial in hometown “disrespectful.”

"I mean it seems like somebody was missing a sensitivity chip when they decided to put it there,” Miller said. "I mean I'd like them to move it to a more appropriate location.”

Sky6 shows the monument and electrical boxes.

Sky6 shows the monument and electrical boxes.

According the Department of Planning and Development’s website, the World War II memorial at Monroe Park was one of the reasons it is on the National Registry of Historic Places. There is no word on when or if the Planning Commission or UDC will take up the matter.

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