In the current week’s Hook, columnist Peter Kleeman decries the loss of public space on the Downtown Mall, now that it’s being leased for the exclusive use of not just cafés, but to the ever-growing Charlottesville Pavilion. The agreement between the city and the pavilion allowed them to occupy a certain amount of space, which was extended down the Mall a bit while the transit center was under construction. Construction is finished, but the pavilion wants to continue to cordon off the Mall beginning at the end of the free speech monument, completely blocking the entrance to City Hall. The city is considering allowing the pavilion to continue doing this permanently, any time that they hold an event.
It was only two years ago that Rich Collins was arrested while campaigning on private property. He decried the loss of public space to privatization, a concern that looks downright prescient now.