Friends of Fort Monroe:
Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park (CFMNP) urges you to attend one of the meetings described below. At these meetings we will be advocating for the Wherry Quarter and South Waterfront area to be slated for preservation as green space in the Master Plan for state-managed lands and to be included as soon as possible in Fort Monroe National Monument.
Demolition of the Wherry Apartments along the Chesapeake Bay waterfront has begun. We realize that this opening up of land along the bay will bring increased pressure on deciding what to do with this land. The best option of the alternatives presented by Sasaki Associates in their July meeting is alternative number 2 (park). We hope that you will come to one of the meetings and support the park concept.
Please see following the Bay Days photos below and also http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/ for more information. We are conducting an opinion survey and would like you to participate in it.
Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park (CFMNP)
FORT MONROE AUTHORITY CONTINUES MASTER PLANNING WITH PUBLIC MEETINGS
Public can choose one of two dates for meetings.
FORT MONROE, VA– The Fort Monroe Authority and its consultant, Sasaki Associates, Inc., will conduct public meetings on Thursday, September 27th from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Friday, September 28th, 9:30 a.m. – 12 noon. The public may attend either or both meetings. The meetings will be held at the Bay Breeze Conference Center at 490 Fenwick Road on Fort Monroe.
The September community meetings will feature an introductory presentation by the Sasaki team, highlighting citizen input and preliminary design concepts for the Fort Monroe Master Plan. The presentation will be followed by interactive roundtable discussions during which community members will be asked to share their ideas for the future of Fort Monroe. The Sasaki planning team will be available to address citizens’ questions.
“We’re extremely pleased with the progress of our master planning process,” says Glenn Oder, Executive Director of The Fort Monroe Authority. “We maintain our commitment and efforts to ensure the public has every opportunity to provide input each step of the way. We want the final plan to be something we all can support,” adds Oder.
The meetings are open to the public. No advance registration is required. Parking is free as well. Directional signs to the meeting location will be posted.
For more information, contact Phyllis Terrell, 757-251-2754 or PTerrell@fmauthority.com.
We are continuing to accept responses to the survey. If you have not had the opportunity to respond please go to http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/ for information on how you can send us your opinion.
More Photos at: http://fortmonroecitizens.org/visual-info/
What should be done with Wherry?
Daily Press Op-ed by Mark Perreault
At the July 26 meeting of the Fort Monroe Authority, Sasaki Associates, the firm in charge of the Fort Monroe planning process, gave an update on its progress. A key issue in the presentation was the future use of the Wherry Quarter, the 72-acre area that separates the two parts of Fort Monroe National Monument. Because Wherry contains no historic buildings and has Bay-facing shoreline, a number of public officials in the years since the base-closure announcement have emphasized its development potential. The public, on the other hand, has repeatedly expressed the desire for as much green space as possible at Fort Monroe (click on the power point link at fortmonroecitizens.org to see the evidence), and this may be why the state board’s previous plan designated Wherry’s use as “to be determined.”
Sasaki presenter Fred Merrill did not alter that designation. Instead, he offered four options for Wherry: a 72-acre park, a narrow green strip along Mill Creek, a narrow green strip along Chesapeake Bay, and a patchwork of parkland and developable areas. The nothing-but-a-park concept is the only one of these options that addresses the public’s wishes; the others don’t even come close. But it would be fair to say that Mr. Merrill downplayed it. He described the optimal Fort Monroe as “a dynamic, family-oriented, 24/7 community” and a thriving Hampton “neighborhood.” He said that nothing should be done to “freeze” Fort Monroe, which has always been characterized by change, and that parkland in Wherry would mean lost revenue for the FMA.
The only benefit of a green Wherry, Mr. Merrill seemed to imply, was that it would make the public happy. But even from just an economic perspective that is actually an enormous benefit. According to land planner Edward T. MacMahon, “Tourism involves more than marketing. It also involves making destinations more appealing. This means conserving and enhancing a destination’s natural assets. It is, after all, the unique heritage, culture, wildlife, or natural beauty … that attracts sightseers in the first place.” A green Wherry would enhance Fort Monroe’s natural beauty and historic ambience by providing striking views of the Bay from the north ramparts of the old fortress, and of the fortress itself–the key historic structure–from Wherry parkland, while linking the fortress and historic quarter (and its amenities, like food, entertainment and lodging) directly to natural lands and thereby making Fort Monroe a recreational oasis (walking, biking, bird-watching, and beach pursuits, etc.) in the middle of Hampton Roads.. It could also be used, profitably, for outdoor events such as arts-and-crafts shows, Chesapeake Bay and nature oriented events, and larger outdoor music or arts events that could not be accommodated in Continental Park. It would thus make Fort Monroe more appealing not only to tourists from afar but also to local visitors, who would keep coming back. And it would attract businesses to the region that value a high quality of life.
Moreover, a green Wherry would allow for the possibility of unifying Fort Monroe National Monument and strengthening the fort’s National Park Service brand. A National Park (or Monument) is the gift that keeps on giving. At a February town-hall meeting on Virginia tourism, the NPS director cited these 2010 statistics: “The 23 million visitors to Virginia’s National Park sites contributed $493 million to local economies and supported 7,000 private-sector jobs.”
Viewed from another perspective than Mr. Merrill’s, then, a green Wherry wouldn’t freeze Fort Monroe; it would invigorate it with tourists and, especially, regular and repeat visitors from within the region, and their dollars.
The Hampton City Council would seem to agree. Under the strong leadership of Mayor Molly Ward it recently passed a resolution that acknowledges the public’s desire for a “large scale open space park” in Wherry, calls for a significant green connection with viewshed protection between the two parts of the Monument, and says it will only support development in Wherry that is tourist-oriented, respectful of open space, and complementary to NPS goals. This translates into plenty of parkland and no residential construction.
Essentially, the FMA must choose between two visions of Wherry: a developed area with limited public use that diminishes the fort’s appeal and provides only short-term revenue, or a beautiful public space that will benefit Fort Monroe and the region both culturally and economically forever. If it listens to the vast majority of Hampton Roads citizens, as well as to its own wisest counsel, it will choose the latter vision. And if it must engage in some new development to ensure the successful preservation and adaptive re-use of the historic buildings, another requisite of Fort Monroe’s success, it will still have options. It can put new construction in the non-historic North Gate area, and following Hampton’s lead, it can devote 20 acres or so of the West Wherry along Mill Creek to tourist-oriented development without adversely impacting a 50-acre large-scale park for that part of Wherry lying between the fortress and the National Monument’s North Beach area. Arguably, the part of Wherry closest to North Gate might also be used for other kinds of development. And once Wherry Park is established, there would be no reason not to begin the process of transferring it (and the two Endicott batteries not yet in the Monument, Batteries Irwin and Parrott) to Fort Monroe National Monument.
To its great credit, the state board has demonstrated a widening vision of Fort Monroe’s significance, culminating in its energetic and successful pursuit of Fort Monroe National Monument. Now to bring its own initiative to fruition, it must widen its vision further to embrace a green Wherry slated for inclusion in the Monument.
Mark Perreault, President
Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park
Above is the unedited version of the op-ed. An edited version appeared online September 21, 2012 and in print September 22, 2012.
Larger versions of these images are at: http://fortmonroecitizens.org/fort-monroe-is/
Hampton asking for “significant green connection” on Fort Monroe
City Council takes stance on Wherry Quarter
Read Daily Press article and Hampton Resolution at:
To view the 5 Wherry Quarter Concepts and to read about an opinion survey that we are conducting, please go to: http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/
Meeting and Event Schedule at http://fortmonroecitizens.org/calendar
An explanation of the MindMixer point system, which is used to determine “website activity,” is at http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/
The Wherry Quarter
In 2011 President Obama designated about half of Fort Monroe–the fortress area and 244 acres of parkland–a national monument, the equivalent of a national park but not created by an act of Congress. Behind the president’s declaration lay a long campaign by Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, crucial support from National Parks Conservation Association and several other historic and preservation organizations*, and a remarkable bipartisan effort involving the Virginia Congressional delegation, the Fort Monroe Authority (the state board in control of Fort Monroe’s future), Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, and Hampton Mayor Molly Ward. It was a great achievement that will give much more visibility to Fort Monroe’s astonishingly rich history (see the history link above). But for Fort Monroe to realize its full potential as a national and international destination, a magnificent urban park, and a revenue generator for Hampton Roads, one more step is necessary. The Wherry Quarter, the area of prime real estate that separates the two parts of Fort Monroe National Monument, and that contains no historic structures, must be turned into green space and transferred to the Monument. This will have a number of important effects. It will strengthen the National Park Service brand by expanding and uniting the Monument. It will provide striking views from the north side of the old fortress to the shorelines and vice versa, enhancing Fort Monroe’s historic ambience. It will prevent new construction in Wherry that would diminish Fort Monroe’s two basic appeals to visitors: historic architecture and natural beauty. It will create a unified, seamless grand public place that will attract not only tourists but also new businesses to the region. We also think that the south waterfront, the location of batteries Irwin and Parrott, should be transferred to the Monument for safekeeping. Over the last five years, state and local authorities have demonstrated a widening vision of Fort Monroe’s historic and economic significance, culminating in their vigorous pursuit of Fort Monroe National Monument. Now for their own initiative to succeed, they must widen their vision further to include a preserved Wherry. Please read the information below and elsewhere on this website for more details and ways that you can help make the Wherry Quarter and south waterfront area part of Fort Monroe National Monument.*In addition to NPCA: Chesapeake Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Civil War Preservation Trust, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Virginia, and Trust for Public Land.
To all supporters of Fort Monroe:
We at Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park urge you to take part in the opportunities below, (1) to express your support online now and as the process continues, and (2) to attend a very important Fort Monroe Authority meeting on Thursday, July 26 at which we encourage you to express support for no development in the Wherry Quarter and South Waterfront Area. These areas should become green open space and part of Fort Monroe National Monument.
Details are given below
(1) Dear Friends of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park: Sasaki, the consulting firm hired by the Fort Monroe Authority, is using a website to collect and gauge public opinion about Fort Monroe’s future. At the last FMA Master Plan public meeting, a Sasaski representative characterized the number of website participants thus far as small, setting the stage for ignoring the results. We know the public wants Fort Monroe to become a grand public place. We are certain that this can happen only if the Wherry Quarter (the 100 acres of prime real estate that split Fort Monroe National Monument) and the south waterfront (the location of batteries Irwin and Parrott) are PRESERVED AND added to the Monument for safekeeping.If you agree with us, we urge you to make your opinion known on the Sasaki website. By seconding the participants’ ideas in favor of transferring Wherry and the south waterfront to the Monument, you can have a huge impact on the planning process.
Here’s how you can help. It’s easy:
1. Go to http://ideas.fmauthority.com (the Sasaski website)
2. Click on “join” in the top right corner if you haven’t already joined. This will allow you to register, which is simple to do: Give your name, birth date, zip, e-mail, and a password. The rest of the information is optional. You can also choose to make your profile private.
3. Once you are signed in, click on each of the Sasaki questions about Fort Monroe and view the participants’ submitted ideas. You can add to those ideas, respond to them, or second them by clicking on “second.” But PLEASE second the ideas by these CFMNP members and friends: Adrian W, Scott B6, Mark P3, Susan B4, and Ron W–especially when their ideas advocate adding the Wherry Quarter and the south waterfront to Fort Monroe National Monument. One click for each and you’re finished.The few minutes you spend doing this will help to make Fort Monroe a grand public place for untold generations to come.
Thanks, and urge your friends to participate too!
For other ways you can help, see the website for Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park: http://fortmonroecitizens.org
We at CFMNP urge all of you to take part in the opportunity to further express the importance of a unified Fort Monroe National Monument. Please go to our Master Plan Idea page, http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/
to see an analysis of the ideas submitted to the online Town Hall, in which creating open space in the Wherry Quarter and making the heart of Fort Monroe part of the national monument was by far the number one idea submitted by the public.
(2) The Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) meeting (see http://fortmonroecitizens.org/calendar/ ) will be held at the Bay Breeze Community Center.
Please read the words and view the photos/videos on and linked to this page and then make COMMENTS by going to (1) http://fortmonroecitizens.org/master-plan-ideas/ and then http://ideas.fmauthority.com to comment on the Fort Monroe Authority Master Plan (Sasaki) and (2) http://fortmonroecitizens.org/nps-planning/ to comment on the Fort Monroe National Monument. In both comment processes we urge you to state the importance of an unified Fort Monroe National Monument that includes the Wherry Quarter and the waterfront to the south.The Virginian-Pilot editorial© April 13, 2012The Wherry Quarter, roughly 100 acres of state-owned waterfront land dividing two sections of the new Fort Monroe National Monument, should be permanently set aside as open space and added to the park as soon as possible.That’s the chief message that residents of Hampton Roads – and beyond – should deliver to two groups preparing plans for the future of 565 acres overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.One of those efforts is led by the National Park Service, which assumed control of more than half of the fort last fall when President Barack Obama declared it a national monument.On April 30, park officials will host meetings to hear the public’s thoughts on how the fort’s rich history should be told and how its land should be used. The sessions will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at The Chamberlin on the monument grounds. The public also can make suggestions online at http://goo.gl/MxoQ1 through May 4.The other effort is led by Sasaki Associates, a Boston-based firm hired by the Fort Monroe Authority to create a master plan for the roughly 240 acres of the fort owned by the state.The authority intends to lease or sell some of the historic buildings on the property and try to attract limited, compatible development – similar to The Presidio of San Francisco, a historic Army post that’s now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.At a recent public meeting, historic preservationists, civic leaders and residents expressed support for protecting the Wherry Quarter, as they have throughout the long campaign to convert the fort into a national park.The authority is still taking comments online at http://ideas.fmauthority.com.Protecting the waterfront from development – any development – is critical to securing the integrity of the new national monument. Its value as a historic site, a natural resource and tourist attraction will be degraded if the Wherry Quarter is not preserved.Various state and federal officials have said they’ve heard that message loud and clear. But let them know again. And keep letting them know until the waterfront is set aside and incorporated in the national monument.http://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/next-step-fort-monroe
——————————————————————————————————————-Development in Fort Monroe’s Wherry Quarter and along the waterfront to the south could:Obstruct the beautiful view from the north side of the fortress to the Bay, and vice versa.Significantly diminish potential recreational space.Forever separate the two parts of the National Monument.Foreclose the possibility of Wherry and the southern waterfront ever transferring to the National Monument.Preclude realizing Fort Monroe’s true potential as a “Grand Public Place”Failure to protect all of Fort Monroe could:Result in permanent harm to Fort Monroe National Monument.Diminish the experience of visitors to this great place. WHERE WE STAND ON THE WHERRY QUARTERThe position of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park (CFMNP) has been, from its beginning in June 2006 and continuing into the present, that of creating a public space along the Chesapeake Bay from the Fortress to the northern end of Dog Beach. We have always maintained the importance of the Wherry Quarter to a Fort Monroe National Park. When the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority (FMFADA, later changed to Fort Monroe Authority (FMA)) divided Fort Monroe into zones, the Wherry Quarter’s future was labeled “yet to be determined.” Certainly our efforts on behalf of a grand public place that included the Wherry Quarter influenced that designation.The approach of CFMNP over the past six years has been that of being assertive but not belligerent. We realized early on that part of our strategy had to be that of persuading public officials that a national park at Fort Monroe was the best use of this national treasure. To persuade public officials to support a park we made a central part of our strategy to attend every public meeting related to Fort Monroe and to submit oral and written comments on countless occasions. We also made contacts outside of organized meetings as we continued our advocacy. It was important to develop a working relationship with many individuals who initially did not agree with our goals. We treated all of these people with proper respect and in time discovered that we were being listened to.Our strategy began to bear fruit when out of mutual respect some of our members were included on various committees of the FMA. The situation began to change as the FMA first studied the prospects of a national park unit at Fort Monroe and then decided to have talks with the National Parks Service (NPS) concerning the possible scope of a park. At this critical point it was important to bring in national organizations such as the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and other groups who had much experience working with Congress and the federal administration to establish a proposal that would be presented to Congress as well as to the President.Why was Wherry not included in the original Fort Monroe National Monument? A big roadblock early on in our efforts to create a national park was the reluctance of the NPS to accept a large inventory of buildings. They did not want to go into the real estate business. It appeared inevitable that Fort Monroe would be divided in some way with the state owning most of the buildings and maintaining them by leasing them out. Our position concerning the Wherry Quarter has been that the buildings there can be used in the short run by the FMA to generate income. In time most of the buildings could be removed, providing open space and a view from the Fortress to the Bay. It has already been determined that the Wherry Apartments will be demolished. We strongly advocate that nothing be built in their place.Again there is an undetermined nature concerning the future of the Wherry Quarter. The agreement that led to the establishment of the national monument states that the two parts of the park will be connected in some way. It would have been ideal if we could have gotten everything we wanted in the designation signed by the President. When an organization is one party of many in a negotiation process it can’t expect to get everything immediately. However nothing prevents us from working for more land to be included in the national monument. National park units have grown over time as the need to accommodate more visitors and to shield the park from encroaching development becomes urgent.Our strategy must now be to prevent any development in the Wherry Quarter while continuing to advocate for its inclusion in Fort Monroe National Monument. To do this we must continue to work with national preservation organizations as we communicate the wisdom of a unified Fort Monroe National Monument to public officials. The fact that Fort Monroe National Monument is a reality gives us added influence as we call for open space in the Wherry Quarter. Please don’t underestimate the value of pictures as we make our case for a greater Fort Monroe National Monument, for one who truly sees the situation as it is and the potential that can be achieved will join us in advocating for a unified Fort Monroe National Monument that includes the Wherry Quarter.
Sasaki Associates, the consulting firm hired to develop a Master Plan for the Fort Monroe Authority, is asking for comments from the public. We need lots of people to respond and to attend future public meetings to advocate for a grand public place at Fort Monroe. In particular, we urge citizens to advocate for open space in the Wherry Quarter (the crucial 100 acres that separate the two parts of the newly created Fort Monroe National Monument), and for the protection of the waterfront extending south from Wherry to Batteries Parrott and Irwin.Attention also needs to be paid to the quality of any new development in the Historic Village and the North Gate areas. While we are not in favor of land sales, if any do occur, they should not be until after the approval of the Fort Monroe Master Plan and even then only under covenants, historic conservation and historic preservation easements and other appropriate legal restrictions that protect these areas.
VIEW OF WHERRY HOUSING FROM TOP OF FORTRESS WALL – THESE APARTMENTS BLOCK THE VIEW OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
e-mail notification of future meetings will be made for those on our e-mail list. You can join by e-mailing us at FortMonroeUpdate@yahoo.com