moving public directory outside of rails structure

Use symbolic links pointing to a directory outside the application
tree? This is of course assuming that Media Temple uses *NIX servers.
Currently that's how I manage certain subdirectories in my public
directory, albeit for a different reason.

Symbolic links are a feature in *NIX filesystems. A way you could use
it for the problem you have is to create a directory, say "uploads",
somewhere above the Rails directory. Let's say the full path to this
directory is /home/username/uploads, and your Rails application lives
at /home/username/railsapp.

In the /home/username/railsapp/public directory, you would then create
a link called uploads, pointing to /home/username/uploads. This means
that when you access /home/username/railsapp/public/uploads, it
actually maps to /home/username/uploads. Follow me?

That way, you have a directory higher up in the filesystem hierarchy
that is still accessible by the webserver.

If you have SSH access, the *NIX command to create a symlink is "ln -s
/the/path/to/link/to [name]". If you omit the name parameter, it
defaults to the last component of the path argument (in this contrived
example, that would be "to"). If you don't have shell access, you'd
have to find out how to create a symlink via a web interface or
something similar. I don' t know if it's possible to create them via
FTP.

I hope I've made myself clear enough. If not, just yell at me.

~P