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Planning for Fort Monroe's Future Starts Now
Written by Rob Nieweg, Project Manager
In November 2011, President Obama created a new National Monument at Fort Monroe. Today, thanks to the president, 325 acres of the historic site are the responsibility of the National Park Service, while the remaining 245 acres (and most of the historic structures) are the responsibility of the Fort Monroe Authority. The National Trust and its membership campaigned for President Obama’s National Monument proclamation, and we strongly support the innovative partnership forming between the Fort Monroe Authority and the National Park Service to preserve this important place.
Now, the National Park Service is preparing a “foundation document,” a new long-term plan to guide their management of the National Monument. To engage the interested public, the National Park Service hosted an open house in April 2012 and has solicited public comments about Fort Monroe. In May 2012, they asked:
- What is most important about the Fort Monroe National Monument?
- What are the greatest threats to the Fort Monroe National Monument?
- How have you used Fort Monroe in the past? What uses would you like to see at Fort Monroe?
- What should the American people know about Fort Monroe? What are its most important stories?
Click here to read the National Trust’s answers. A draft foundation document will likely be ready for public review and comment in early winter 2013. We’re watching closely and asking for new opportunities to consult with the National Park Service as the agency prepares its draft.
What’s at stake? The National Park Service’s plan is critical to the future of the National Monument, of course, but the foundation document will also help shape many key aspects of the Fort Monroe Authority’s own master plan. All of this land-use planning is interconnected and very political. For example, on August 8, 2012, the Hampton City Council weighed in by unanimously resolving to only support new development in the controversial Wherry Quarter that is “complementary to the National Park Service plans” for the National Monument. The Wherry Quarter is located within the Fort Monroe Authority's jurisdiction, and some have argued that no development should be permitted there.
Click here for press coverage of the city council’s resolution, which sends an important message to both the National Park Service and the Fort Monroe Authority. This resolution, which seems to support some level of new development in the Wherry Quarter for “tourism, hospitality, recreation, and open space concepts,” also begins to answer the much-debated question of what sort of new development, if any, would be considered appropriate within the Wherry Quarter.