to:                  Mayor and Town Council

from:            Council Naming Committee (Sally Greene, Bill Strom, Jim Ward)

subject:       Peace and Justice Plaza Monument

date:             September 10, 2007


The purpose of this report is to share with the Council the Naming Committee’s recommendation for physically marking the space in front of the Old Post Office on Franklin Street as “Peace and Justice Plaza,” a name the Council has already given to the space. In June 2006, the Council approved naming the Plaza in honor of those citizens active in civil justice issues, and further recommended that the first names to appear on the marker would be Joe and Lucy Straley and Charlotte Adams.  The committee adopts the recommendation of an ad hoc subcommittee formed for this purpose, as discussed below, to install a granite marker at the base of the flagpole. Included below is an estimate on the cost and installation of such a monument.


The Naming Committee had asked members of a subcommittee of the Historic District Commission and Public Arts Commission to develop recommendations for memorial signage commemorating Peace and Justice Plaza.


These recommendations were presented to the Naming Committee on August 21st, 2007 by Steve Wright, Public Art Coordinator for the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission.  Those present included Council Member Sally Greene, Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, Council Member Jim Ward, Town Manager Roger Stancil, and Director of Communications and Public Affairs Sabrina Oliver.  The committee’s preference was a five-foot square granite paver monument to be installed at the base of the plaza flagpole, flush with the surrounding pavement and engraved with the title “Peace and Justice Plaza,” a quote from Benjamin Franklin “There was never a good war or a bad peace”, and the names of three activists (Charlotte Adams, Joe Straley, Lucy Straley), with room left on the monument for the addition of future names.  Further research into the fabrication of this monument and attendant plaza improvements was requested.

Discussions with Public Works and a local monument artisan who has worked with the department on other projects suggest that the paver should be made of unpolished Georgia Gray granite.  This type of marble is of a higher monument quality and is more economical than North Carolina granite, and is entirely suitable for the proposed design.  A granite paver that is four inches thick can withstand 20,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and is thus strong enough to bear the foot traffic of the plaza.  Leaving the granite unpolished will prevent the surface from becoming slippery in wet conditions. Fabrication, engraving, installation and delivery of a five-foot-wide by five-foot tall by four-inch deep paver monument of Georgia Gray granite is estimated to cost $2,000.  Adding other names to the monument in the future can be done on-site and is not an unusual request for monument artisans.  Additionally, Public Works can remove the brick that currently occupies the proposed monument site, pressure wash the surrounding plaza and paint the flagpole to match the Post Office façade.  The Naming Committee also recognized that the nearby planter at the corner of Franklin and Henderson streets needs attention.


The Naming Committee recommends that Peace and Justice Plaza be commemorated with an engraved granite paver monument that is approximately five-feet wide, five-feet tall and four-inches deep, to be installed in front of the plaza flag pole in a manner similar to the discussion above and Attachment 1.  The following steps are recommended to further enhance the plaza: pressure wash the surrounding brick and cement, paint the flagpole a color that matches the building façade, and have the Town adopt the planter at the plaza’s corner on Franklin and Henderson streets.


  1. Close-up image of Peace and Justice Plaza monument design (p. 4).
  2. Long image of Peace and Justice Plaza monument design (p. 5).


  1. Plaza Mockups [3.0 MB pdf]