COAST DEFENSE STUDY GROUP
1700 Oak Lane, McLean, Virginia 22101 USA
December 10, 2012
TO: Glenn Oder, FMA
Josh Gillespie, FMA
Fred Merrill, Sasaki
cc: CDSG Board of Directors
Craig Lentz, CDSG
Mark Perreault, CFMNP
FROM: Terry McGovern, CDSG Preservation Committee
SUBJECT: CDSG Comments re Fort Monroe Master Plan
I am writing you to clarify the Coast Defense Study Group’s (CDSG) position on the proposed Master Plan for Fort Monroe, in light of my colleague Craig Lentz’s memo to you of September 29, 2012. Craig was gracious in agreeing to attend the September planning stakeholders meeting on our behalf, and has provided you with very detailed written comments. While Craig was clear that he was commenting not only for CDSG but also based on his own considerable business experience and his personal views, I wanted to offer the following clarifying comments on behalf of CDSG.
CDSG has been involved in the planning process for Fort Monroe since 2005, and we have advocated throughout this whole period for the preservation of the post’s fortifications (and their supporting tactical structures). We specifically supported the establishment of Fort Monroe National Monument last year and the inclusion in the Monument of as many of the extant Endicott batteries (and supporting structures) as possible (as you know, Batteries Anderson, Ruggles, Church and DeRussey were included, while Batteries Parrott and Irwin were not).
We continue to support the preservation of Batteries Parrott and Irwin, and their ultimate addition to the National Monument because we believe their preservation and interpretation should be primarily a national, not a local or state, responsibility. We also have concerns about economic development of these two historic batteries due to their location are key in telling the coast defense story at Fort Monroe.
Moreover we believe the National Monument should be physically unified, by preserving at least the 50‐55 acres in the heart of the Wherry Quarter, between Mill Creek and the Chesapeake Bay, and slating these acres, along with Batteries Parrott and Irwin and the land connecting them to these 50‐55 Wherry acres, for ultimate addition to the National Monument. We believe this will create a powerfully attractive combination of historic resources and natural lands, and a seamless and viable national park unit that will both effectively tell the full story of Fort Monroe, and be a strong draw for tourism, regional visitation, compatible businesses and residents.
As for economic sustainability of the state‐managed Fort Monroe lands, we would generally agree with the thought that the stronger a National Monument Fort Monroe has, and the more closely natural lands and historic resources are linked, the more appealing the entire property will be, and the more revenue opportunities the FMA will have. The fundamental goals of the Master Plan should first be to “preserve the place” and “tell the stories”, which the plan we suggest above will accomplish, and then to develop a plan for financial sustainability based on this preservation/tell the story footprint.