CFMNP believes that the core of the Wherry Quarter, the approximately 50 acres that separate the two parts of Fort Monroe National Monument, and that contain no historic structures, must be turned into green space and eventually 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 and local repeat visitors to the site but also anchor tenants to the historic buildings and businesses that value a high quality of life 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.
Citizens have repeatedly and strongly indicated their preference for public open space and landscape preservation and restoration for all the lands north and east of the fortress at Fort Monroe, going back to the first public charettes in 2006. In recent months their wishes have been echoed by a number of organizations and public entities, beginning with a Hampton City Council resolution calling for a Wherry park that complements the goals of the National Monument.
Click on the links here to read the many statements of support for a green Wherry. These include:
and letters to the Fort Monroe Authority from:
Virginia Association for Parks
We also encourage you to read the letter from the Trust for Public Land and follow the link on that page to the TPL study on parkland in Hampton Roads. Excerpts from the report are on this website at Trust for Public Land Study.
The first of the stated Fort Monroe Authority goals, “preserve the place”, has unfortunately been thus far interpreted in a cramped fashion by FMA planners, limiting preservation to historic buildings while treating Wherry as a potential development site. CFMNP urges a plan that indeed preserves the place, including its landscape. A big preservation vision will provide a more complete and appealing National Monument and a more financially successful and valuable Fort Monroe as a whole.
Any projects planned for Fort Monroe had better be in line with the historic beauty of the site, said Adam Baacke, Lowell’s planning and development director. “The national park reinforces this virtuous cycle that this is a special place because of the park,” he said, “and creating a beautiful area around it only enforces the belief that it is a special place.” –”Looking for Lessons in a Massachusetts Mill Town,” Daily Press, Dec. 26, 2012