Friday, January 6, 2012

Market Building, Plowshare Reach Agreement on Demonstrations

The City of Roanoke, which has been a reluctant participant in the tiff between the Plowshare Peace Center and the Roanoke City Market Building's executive board, has apparently brokered a deal that satisfies both. Shades of Solomon here. This helps avoid a court showdown over freedom of assembly and speech, where the Market Building business people were clearly in the wrong. My guess is that you can give much of the credit here to City Manager Chris Morrill, a level head when all about him are losing theirs.

Here's the release from the city:

To address the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center's
expressed desire to use a section of the Roanoke City Market
Building's sidewalk for peaceful demonstration, the City of Roanoke
announces today that city leaders have worked out an arrangement with
the Market Building Foundation to make this possible. The outer
portion of the sidewalk along Campbell Avenue in front of the Market
Building - a five-foot area under the canopy - has been leased to the
city, which makes it available for permitted public assembly. The
Market Building Foundation will continue to control and manage the
Market Building and the other leased sidewalk area under the canopy
for outdoor dining.

"This solution enables the Market Building to continue to focus on
business ventures and operate as a successful commercial enterprise,"
says City Manager Chris Morrill. "Through the process of resolving
this question of usage, both the Foundation and the city have gained
clarity for the practical use of the Market Building property."

The city has issued a permit allowing the Plowshare Peace and Justice
Center to conduct its  assembly on this portion of the Market
Building sidewalk on Saturday, Jan. 21. As a result of the agreement,
in the future the city will manage this portion of the sidewalk
through its assembly permit process to apply appropriate ordinances,
laws, and regulations.

"We appreciate the cooperation of the Market Building Foundation and
Plowshare Peace and Justice Center in working out this arrangement,"
says Morrill. "It is a win/win/win result for all the interested
parties and balances the interests of the Market Building Foundation,
Plowshare, the Market Building tenants, and Roanoke's citizens."

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