Some Articles, Editorials, and Ideas of Interest Concerning Fort Monroe, the Wherry Quarter, and the South Waterfront Area
(1) Think Outside the Moat, photo essay, 2010
EDITORIALS AND OP-EDS
(2) Preserving the Wherry Quarter, Virginian-Pilot editorial, November 9, 2012
(3) The Next Steps at Fort Monroe, Virginian-Pilot op-ed, November 6, 2012
(4) What Should be Done with Wherry? Daily Press op-ed, September 22, 2012
(5) The Park Service’s Time at Fort Monroe, Virginian-Pilot editorial, January 13, 2011
(6) Fort’s Future is in Its Storied Past, Virginia-Pilot editorial, January 2, 2010
(7) MindMixer Ideas on economics, 2012
(8) Savannah-Charleston Forts have hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Dr. Koch of ODU on open space and parks in Hampton Roads
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Research
(9) Economic Facts to Remember from NPCA Mid-Atlantic Region Field Report for Autumn 2012-Winter 2013
(10) NPCA Survey Findings – Strong Bipartisan Support for National Parks, July 2012
(11) Fort McHenry Factsheet – Each year over 600,000 people visit Fort McHenry, spending $39 million.
SURVEY, POLLS, AND PETITION
(12) Letter from CFMNP to FMA on Wherry Quarter Survey, October 25, 2012
(13) Daily Press Poll 2011
(14) Virginian-Pilot Poll 2011
(15) Polls and Petition Summary
Trust for Public Land (TPL) STUDY
(16) Excerpts from the conclusion to “Bracing for Change: Fort Monroe and the Need for Parkland in Hampton Roads,” 2008
VIRGINIA TOURISM ARTICLES
(17) Parks in Virginia and Economics Benefits, 2012 articles
VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(18) House Joint Resolution 376 Commending the work of the Fort Monroe Authority, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, Hampton City Council, Governor of Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Preservation Virginia, and the National Park Service for their work in establishing Fort Monroe National Monument.
(2) The Virginian-Pilot
Friday I 11.09.12 I PAGE 6
opinion our views
PRESERVING THE WHERRY QUARTER
The issue: The state’s property at Fort Monroe is being considered for limited development.
Where we stand: The General Assembly was clear that the state property should be added to the new National Park.
EARLIER this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the preservation of a portion of Fort Monroe known as the Wherry Quarter “to the maximum extent possible.” The resolution specified that the area, facing the Chesapeake Bay, should be left in a condition suitable for eventual addition to the newly established Fort Monroe National Monument.
The meaning of “maximum extent” is now being hashed out by state officials, and there are several options under review that run counter to the legislature’s intent – and warrant the attention of residents of our region and well beyond.
The Fort Monroe Authority manages roughly 240 acres of state-owned property at the fort, and consultants are currently preparing a master plan. The remainder of the 565-acre fort is operated by the National Park Service.
The state’s general vision is to lease or sell some of the historic buildings and allow limited, low-density development compatible with the existing structures. The goal is to create a plan that will cover the cost of maintaining the land and structures.
For the Wherry Quarter the consultants have proposed several ideas, including two that involve new residential development. Those proposals should be swiftly rejected because they would not adequately preserve the land for later inclusion in the national monument.
Another option calls for leaving much of the Wherry Quarter as open land but allowing a tourism-oriented development – a lodge or similar accommodations – on the northwest corner. In a compromise move, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park – a preservation group that helped win designation of the fort as a national monument – has called for shifting the development to the southwest corner, further from the water.
These options should be rejected, too, because they fail to leave enough of the Bayfront as open space. A tourism-related development is a worthy idea, but there are other areas of the fort where it could be placed.
Virginia officials hope to make their portion of the fort economically self-sustaining. But they need to ensure that in the process they don’t damage the mission of the national monument and, in turn, reduce the economic benefits of the park to the state and region.
The state-owned acreage at the Wherry Quarter divides the national monument in half, and – as the General Assembly has stated -it should be added to the national monument as soon as possible.
Residents of this region and elsewhere have repeatedly and overwhelmingly called for adding the Wherry Quarter since President Barack Obama established the national monument last year.
Virginia has an obligation – and a financial incentive – to help the National Park Service present the rich history of Fort Monroe in a high-quality manner.
That story will be best told if the parkland is contiguous and fully accessible to visitors – and if the views of the Bay remain unobstructed by development.
The Virginian-Pilot ©November 9, 2012
(3) The next steps at Fort Monroe
Posted to: Guest Columns Opinion
By Scott Butler
© November 6, 2012
Representatives of the Fort Monroe Authority have time and again offered three general goals for shaping the future of the state-owned parts of the historic site – preserve the property, tell the story and achieve economic independence.
The first two goals imply that Fort Monroe should exist primarily for the public’s enjoyment and enlightenment. Otherwise, why not bulldoze the historic buildings, replace them with new construction and forget about interpreting the fort’s remarkable history?
These goals suggest a more encompassing one – enhance Fort Monroe’s character as a grand public place. In light of this larger goal, the property in “preserve the property” should include its natural landscape.
Certainly, the public thinks so. Over the last five years, every index of public opinion about Fort Monroe – from informal newspaper polls to the 7,000 signers of a Hampton petition to the 1,300 signers of a regional survey – has shown overwhelming support not only for historic preservation but also for as much green space as possible. (For evidence, visit www.fortmonroecitizens.org and click on the “power points” link).
The third goal, economic independence, obviously should not be attained at the expense of the other two goals – that is, at the expense of a grand public place. Nor does it have to be.
The FMA can generate revenue in a variety of ways that don’t compromise its overall mission. It can lease or sell the historic residences and buildings (with rigorous preservation standards in place), develop the industrial North Gate area next to the historic village and bring in tourism income from kayak rentals, weddings, audio headset tours, parking, modest annual fees for local visitors, large-scale outdoor events and so on.
What it cannot do without undermining its mission is develop the main section of the Wherry Quarter, an area of approximately 50 acres on the Chesapeake Bay that lies between the two parts of the Fort Monroe National Monument.
A developed Wherry would fragment the sense of public space and diminish Fort Monroe’s natural beauty and historic ambience. A Wherry Park, on the other hand, would help Fort Monroe achieve its full potential as a great urban park and a national and international destination.
Sasaki Associates, a consulting firm hired by the FMA to develop a plan for the state-owned property, has proposed several alternative visions of Wherry, most of which show a mix of development and green space.
Sasaki’s assumption would seem to be that park space, while nice for the public, means lost revenue. Even if this were true, maximizing revenue has never been the FMA’s intention. Both FMA Executive Director Glenn Oder and FMA Chairwoman Terrie Suit have said the FMA’s concern is that Fort Monroe becomes self-sustaining, not that it makes a profit.
But there is good reason to believe that a Wherry Park would have a positive economic impact.
Following low points in 2008-09, tourism revenue in Virginia is on the rise: $20 billion in 2011, an 8 percent increase over the previous year. A green Wherry would boost Fort Monroe’s appeal to tourists and therefore tourism revenue for the FMA and – no less importantly – for Hampton and the region.
Moreover, Virginia’s national park sites contributed $493 million to local economies in 2010 and presumably added even more in 2011.
Incorporating Wherry Park into the existing national monument (along with the Irwin and Parrott batteries on the south waterfront) would strengthen Fort Monroe’s National Park Service brand, so attractive to tourists, and further stimulate tourism revenue.
To remain faithful to its own goals for Fort Monroe, provide citizens with the grand public place they desire and turn the site into an economic engine for Hampton and the region, the Fort Monroe Authority must make the creation of Wherry Park a top priority.
Scott Butler, a member of the board of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, lives in Newport News. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(4) What Should Be Done with Wherry?
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
(An edited version of the above op-ed appeared in the Daily Press, September 22, 2012)
(5) The Park Service’s time at Ft. Monroe, Virginian-Pilot editorial, Jan. 13, 2011
As officials at the National Park Service begin work on legislation to preserve the long and rich history of Fort Monroe, they should keep their own agency’s recent history in mind. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb have asked the Park Service to draft a bill to create a national park at the 570-acre base in Hampton. The Army is scheduled to depart in September and turn the land over to the state of Virginia.
Among the details still unsettled is how large the park would be. Last fall, the Park Service expressed interest in about 100 acres, primarily in and around the stone fortress and moat. But there are reasons to think bigger. The fort’s history, stretching back to the early 1600s, encompasses a multitude of significant stories little known to most Americans. The most dramatic is the role that Fort Monroe played in the exodus of slaves from captivity at the start of the Civil War – a story of heroism and sacrifice that earned it the name “Freedom’s Fortress.” If handled properly, that story alone could place Fort Monroe alongside Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown as the region’s major tourist destinations and education centers.
There are other, more recent episodes that should prompt Park Service officials to go well beyond the 100 acres they identified last fall. To name a few: Gettysburg. Manassas. Cold Harbor. Chancellorsville. The Wilderness. As Park Service officials well know, those historic landmarks – and many, many others – have been at the center of fierce, costly preservation battles in recent decades. As development encroached upon parkland, coalitions of historians, preservationists and Park Service officials scurried to build public-private partnerships to acquire land adjacent to national parks. Often, they failed. The Park Service viewed those preservation efforts as essential to protecting the integrity of the landmarks and the experiences of park visitors.
Today, at Fort Monroe, the agency can avoid setting the stage for such conflicts. Park Service officials have an opportunity to ensure sufficient land is set aside. They can protect views of the Chesapeake Bay integral to understanding the fort’s role in American history. They can preserve areas known to be historically significant as well as those that may yield valuable information as more research is conducted.
Planning for a large park would not interfere with long-discussed plans to create at Fort Monroe something similar to the Presidio of San Francisco, a historic Army installation folded into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Houses and other buildings at the Presidio are leased out to help pay for maintenance and operation. The same can occur at Fort Monroe. But, as they set aside land for protection, the National Park Service and Congress must take care not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Think big now.
(6) Virginian-Pilot editorials
Saturday January 2, 2010
Fort’s future is in its storied past
In a study last year, National Park Service historians observed that Fort Monroe is “an exceptionally important portal” through which to view American history.
The question now is whether the portal will be opened fully — or partially obscured, possibly forever.
In November, a state-appointed panel presented a long-awaited recommendation for what should happen to the fort when the U.S. Army closes it in September 2011 under directions from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
Despite initial fears that large swaths of the 570-acre property and its scenic views would be targeted for commercial and residential development, the Fort Monroe authority — composed primarily of officials from the city of Hampton and state government — called instead for Congress to designate at least part of the land a national park.
The decision was a major triumph for advocates of preserving the property, which played significant but little-known roles in multiple stages of our nation’s founding, early struggles and growth.
A national park at Fort Monroe would have numerous stories to tell about a fascinating cast of historic figures, including Capt. John Smith, Edgar Allan Poe, Chief Black Hawk, Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and Harriet Tubman.
But the most compelling chapter in its history — the chapter that, by itself, warrants national park status — involves the fort’s role in the beginning and the end of slavery.
Although Jamestown was long believed to be the first place that a slave ship landed in the British colonies, historians have concluded that the vessel’s first stop was actually in 1619 at Old Point Comfort, as the fort’s peninsula was then known. Slaves were traded for supplies, a transaction that would traverse generations and transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
The same land would later serve as the stage for events that led to the dismantling of slavery.
Early in the Civil War, three slaves — Frank Baker, Sheppard Mallory and James Townsend — risked their lives to seek refuge in the Union-held fort. Union Gen. Benjamin Butler — a Northern Democrat who, ironically, favored Jefferson Davis as his party’s candidate to run against Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860 — declared the men “contraband” of war and refused to return them.
The decision led to an exodus of slaves to Fort Monroe and became “a major starting point on the pathway to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation,” according to National Park Service historians. By the end of the war, more than 10,000 slaves had escaped to “Freedom’s Fortress.”
Securing funding for a national park at this juncture won’t be easy, of course. But it is possible, in gradual steps if need be.
Several precedents, including The Presidio in California, exist for a creating a national park through a public-private partnership. A park at Fort Monroe could generate income by renting some of its buildings as homes and office space.
Further help might come through a tax-exempt endowment recently proposed by a commission studying the national park system’s future.
Congress and the National Park Service also should explore the potential for establishing at Fort Monroe a national museum devoted to telling the story of slavery in America.
A project started several years ago by former Gov. Doug Wilder in Fredericksburg has foundered and all but been declared dead.
Its financial supporters might back a revived proposal at a more logical location for the museum, in close proximity to other major historic attractions, including Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown.
Congress and the National Park Service should begin planning now for a national park encompassing all 570 acres of Fort Monroe. Its story is too important — its educational and economic development potential too powerful — to be presented in a scaled-down version. This portal to history should be opened wide and to all Americans.
Source URL (retrieved on 01/02/2010 – 10:46):
Published on HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com (http://hamptonroads.com)
Submitted by markk33831 on Sat, 01/02/2010 at 3:18 pm.
Fort Monroe has a wide ranging history from its beginning, through the Civil War to being a center of coastal defense training and finally the command center for training for the Army. ALL aspects should be respected and represented with any park efforts. By far the best thing would be to preserve the entire place as a park. If developers get a hold of any of it, they’ll keep pushing for more and more. If they hire lobbyists, the entire place will fall to them. All of the current grounds should be preserved as a park for everyone’s use.
(7) MindMixer Ideas
Flooding and Financial Facts (3) 4/19/12
Considering the problems due to flooding and the fact that tourists spend money throughout the area without requiring such expensive services as schools for their children, residential development is not the way to maximize the use of this national treasure even on a strictly financial level. More than that, Fort Monroe is not just another piece of real estate. It’s a very special place and should be treated as such.
Let’s Not Create an Inholding Problem at Fort Monroe (6) 4/24/12
It doesn’t take much searching to locate the information below. Let’s not create another problem in the middle of Fort Monroe National Monument!
“Inholdings are privately held parcels within the boundaries of government owned and managed land, such as national parks, national forest, state parks or other protected areas. Inholdings are the result of private ownership prior to the designation of the land as a national or state park or forest.
Over the past several decades conservation groups have worked to acquire and protect lands within these areas, either by direct acquisition or trades of land, in order to maintain and/or defragment large natural areas and protect existing ecosystems.”
Please see: “Private rights vs. public lands: Thousands of inholdings create conflicts inside federal lands” http://www.hcn.org/issues/124/3946
Also: “In-Holdings: The Undiscovered Crisis …
In the national park system, in-holdings are encumbered not only by the cost of the land but also by the power of individuals and their influence on elected officials who see the national park budget as a blank checkbook.” http://www.parktrust.org/parktrust_old/legacy/crisis.html
Obviously there would be a great difference between a park with the Wherry Quarter included as open land and one with most of the Wherry Quarter developed. Development would diminish the historical, natural, and scenic value of the rest of Fort Monroe and make FMNM less attractive to visitors.
Good Planning Would Never Allow Inholdings to be Created (6) 4/24/12
From: “Private lands threaten sanctity of national parks”
“…’Once lost to incompatible development, private inholdings can disrupt or destroy park views, undermine the experience of visitors, and often diminish the air and water quality while simultaneously increasing light and noise pollution,’ according to the report.
National parks have an ultimate responsibility to acquire private property within their boundaries, said Ron Tipton, a senior vice president with the National Park Conservation Association, and most move gradually toward that goal.”
Set the Right Priorities (1) 6/4/12
A great region deserves a great master plan for Fort Monroe that, rather than drain its riches for the benefit of a few individuals in this generation, clearly passes along to future generations this national treasure unadulterated. We must not “sell the baby” to pay for the “bathwater.” Set the right priorities and find a way to achieve them!
Wherry and South Waterfront Highest Value is as a Park (2) 6/4/12
The City of Hampton will benefit more from the Wherry Quarter and south waterfront area becoming part of a unified Fort Monroe National Monument than from any development of these areas.
|May 28, 2012|
All concede the state managed lands at Fort Monroe must ultimately pay their way. But financial sustainability is not a goal attained in short term (it took 20 years at Presidio) or in just one way (not solely from revenue from land or building rents or, where permitted, sales). Sustainability must be accomplished methodically and in multiple ways, including public support (e.g. should not NPS ultimately take over responsibility for moated fortress, a national asset if there ever was one?) and local and
tourist visitation, if Fort Monroe is to reach its potential. Beware of claims Wherry Quarter or South Waterfront must be developed, and a truly unified National Monument forever precluded, because of need for financial sustainability — such claims may merely mask a desire for private development motivated for other reasons or reflecting a lack of imagination or patience.
|Ecotourism in WherryUpdated: Apr 28, 2012|
In an April 22 Daily Press editorial, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech says, “Tourism is a major driver in Virginia’s economy, and ecotourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of that industry. It connects people to the environment and instills an appreciation of our natural resources. Providing public access and investing in the conservation of special coastal places go hand in hand.” By turning Wherry–a special coastal place if there ever was one–into open, green space, creating a substantial NPS connector with Bay-facing shoreline and viewsheds to and from the north side of the fortress (and creating legislation for the eventual transfer of all or most of Wherry to the Monument), the Fort Monroe Authority would enhance the recreational tourism appeal of the state-managed portions of Fort Monroe as well as their historical ambience, and provide a seamless transition to National Monument parkland. Secretary Domenech also refers to a state program of ecotourism grants to which the FMA should apply for funds to turn Wherry into public green space: “The Virginia CZM Program has distributed more than 54 ecotourism grants in the last 25 years worth more than $1 million — funding construction of public access amenities such as nature trails, canoe and kayak floating docks, wildlife observation decks, an Ecotour Guide Certification Program, the 20 year old Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival, the coastal portion of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, and the Eastern Shore Seaside Water Trail.” Another incentive for an eco-Wherry is the increasing sea level. This is already a real problem in some parts of Norfolk, where over the last five years people have had to replace basic appliances in their houses and pay for other water damage several times. For more on Norfolk, see the 15-minute segment “Rising Tide in Norfolk” on PBS’s “Need to Know” program:
(8) Hundreds of Thousands Attracted to Forts in Savannah, Charleston
“It is important to recognize that some of Hampton Roads’ park shortage is due to the area’s heavy military presence. Of the region’s 12 major bases, nine are in the main cities. And because the shoreline along these bases is not publicly accessible, it is critical that Fort Monroe’s shoreline be conserved as open, public parkland in the future. Lastly, it is indisputable that parks created from old military installations prove themselves as significant tourism draws. Two nearby cases in point — Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Ga. and Fort Sumter near Charleston, S.C. — attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year as national parks. As a more impressive fort in a larger metropolitan area, Fort Monroe could be expected to have an even greater tourism impact.”
(Excerpt from the Trust for Public Land’s study “Bracing for Change, Fort Monroe and the Need for Parkland in Hampton Roads.” Link to full study: http://cloud.tpl.org/pubs/ccpe_va_hamptonroads_parkdeficit.pdf )
It’s important to take advantage of the full potential of Fort Monroe by providing the proper setting for the Fortress and sufficient open space to accommodate hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, both from outside this area and local residents.
Comment by Dr. James Koch, Old Dominion University professor of economics, ODU President Emeritus, and author of the annual State of the Region report:
“Still, of all the factors that currently challenge the availability of open space and parks in Hampton Roads, it is the progressive and almost relentless conversion of these areas to residential and commercial use that is most ominous, for once unsettled land has been urbanized with residents and structures, it seldom reverts to open space or park status.
If another 50 years pass that devour open space at the same rate as the last 50 years, then we will have eliminated a huge swath of land that could have been turned into parks or preserved as open space for all to enjoy. We will have made an almost irrevocable decision that parks and open space are not going to play significant roles in our urban future.
The political diversity and geographical breadth of Hampton Roads (a euphemistic way to explain an absence of regional unity) have tended to exacerbate this tendency toward narrowly defined, disconnected initiatives. No single body serves as an open-space advocate for the entire region.
The quality of life and the ultimate sustainability of a growing region like Hampton Roads depend on managing conservation as well as development in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner.”
As the population of Hampton Roads increases over the next few decades, so will its density, particularly near its central core. Fort Monroe is in an ideal location to provide much needed open waterfront space. The Wherry Quarter and South Waterfront area should be part of that open space.
(9) The following facts are from the NPCA Mid-Atlantic Region Field Report for Autumn 2012-Winter 2013, shown below.
NPS’budget is only 1/13 of 1% of federal budget
NPS spending generates $31 billion in private sector spending each year, and 258,000 jobs
92% of American voters want NPS spending to stay same or grow.
As Congress Contemplates Severe Budget Cuts, Parks Remain Wildly Popular
According to a new public opinion poll commissioned by NPCA and the National Park Hospitality Association, an overwhelming 95 percent of voters want the federal government to ensure that national parks are protected for the future and available for their enjoyment.
“From the Everglades to Gettysburg and Yellowstone, our national parks are American icons and inspire visitors from across the world, supporting urban and rural economies nationwide,” said Tom Kiernan, NPCA president. “This poll is a clear indication that voters want to see them preserved and protected for the future.”
A top tourist draw, national parks are a tiny
part of the federal budget—less than 1/13th of one percent. Yet they support $31 billion in private-sector spending and 258,000jobs each year. Even in these challenging fiscal times, few voters from either side of the political aisle say the federal government should cut back on funding for national parks. Remarkably, 92 percent of voters think that federal spending on national parks should be increased or kept the same.
The new poll is released as the Administration and Congress consider more cuts to national parks during the annual appropriations process. In addition, in January 2013, all federal agencies face a damaging across-the-board eight to 10 percent cut—unless Congress acts to avoid it. Such cuts would reduce the number of park rangers, and likely lead to some closed visitor centers, campgrounds and even some national park sites.
The survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research from June 12-17, 2012, among a national sample of 1,004 registered voters. To view the poll, visit:
How You Can Help: Please contact your members of the House and Senate, and ask them to find a path towards deficit reduction that does not involve cutting funds for our national parks. Feel free to share the information from this new poll. Visit www.npca.org/get-involved
to contact Congress.
(10) Strong Bipartisan Support for National Parks http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/Suvey_Findings_Memo_Final.pdf
(11) Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine http://www.npca.org/assets/pdf/Fort_McHenry_FactSheet.pdf
(12) CITIZENS FOR A FORT MONROE NATIONAL PARK
P.O. Box 510097
Fort Monroe, VA 23651
October 25, 2012
Fort Monroe Authority
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218
Re: Fort Monroe Wherry Quarter Concepts Opinion Survey
Dear Ms. Suit:
On behalf of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park (CFMNP), I wish to submit a complete copy of the survey forms completed by 1356 citizens, the vast preponderance from Hampton Roads, expressing (i) their preferences for treatment of the Wherry Quarter in the master plan for state-managed lands, and (ii) their opinion upon whether the Wherry Quarter and South Waterfront (i.e., the latter consisting of Batteries Parrott and Irwin, and the land on the Bay side of Fenwick Road between Battery Parrott and the boundary of the Wherry Quarter) should be added to the National Monument.
The summary sheet also attached shows the results: 1327 of the 1356 respondents, or 97.9%, preferred a 72 acre park in the Wherry Quarter, while 1293 of the respondents, or 95.4%, stated they wanted the Wherry Quarter and South Waterfront added to the National Monument in the future.
These results are stark but not surprising to CFMNP. 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. The first aspect of the stated FMA goals for Fort Monroe, “preserve the place”, has unfortunately been thus far interpreted in a cramped fashion by FMA planners, limiting preservation to historic buildings while largely treating the potentially National Monument-uniting grand landscape on the Wherry as a development site. CFMNP urges a plan that indeed preserves the place, including its landscape, recognizing that a big preservation vision, as recognized by citizens, will both provide a more complete and appealing National Monument and a more financially successful and valuable Fort Monroe as a whole.
cc: The Honorable Robert McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
Glenn Oder, Executive Director, FMA
Dwight Farmer, Executive Director, HRTPO
Fred Merrill, Sasaki
Kirsten Talken-Spalding, Superintendent, Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Monroe Authority Members
(13) Daily Press 2011 Fort Monroe Poll
Obama could make Fort Monroe a national monument
HAMPTON — President Barack Obama is being asked to make Fort Monroe a national monument under the Antiquities Act after the Army vacates in September, a much faster process than establishing a national park. But little is known about a process that has been available to presidents since 1906. “It requires an executive order from the president. It isn’t often used,” said Hampton Mayor Molly Joseph Ward, who said the process is relatively unknown.
- POLL: Should President Obama declare Fort Monroe to be a national monument? Fort Monroe is preparing to close, and the move to turn it into a national park would take several years. President Obama has the power to declare it a national monument, which would preserve the fort and still leave open the possibility of transforming it into a national park. What do you think the president should do?
(Results June 19, 2011, 4:34 PM, 716 total responses)
- Declare it a national monument. Fort Monroe is one of the most historic of all U.S. military installations. It should be preserved for future generations to see. (579 responses, 80.9%)
- Let it go. It’s an old, outdated fort. It served its purpose, but the idea of spending millions of dollars to preserve it just doesn’t make sense. (28 responses, 3.9%)
- I don’t know. I would want to see what goes into this process and how much it would cost the taxpayers before I decide. (41 responses, 5.7%)
- No on the monument, but keep working toward the goal of a national park. (42 responses, 5.9%)
- Whatever Obama decides to do, it will be the wrong decision. (26 responses, 3.6%)
(621 responses for either National Monument or National Park, 86.8%)
(14) Virginian-Pilot Poll:
Results as of 4:00 PM, 8/12/11
Poll Question (Posted to: News)
Should Fort Monroe be turned into a national park after the Army leaves it in September?
Yes 92% (1442 votes) [92.4%]
No 6% (97 votes) [6.2%]
Not sure 1% (21 votes) [1.3%]
Total votes: 1560
(15) Polls and Petition Summary
See Power Point Presentation at http://fortmonroecitizens.org/power-points/
(16) Excerpts from the conclusion to Bracing for Change: Fort Monroe and the Need for Parkland in Hampton Roads
That Fort Monroe is a national treasure is indisputable and undisputed. What should happen to the fort after its decommissioning, however, is the subject of lively debate.Based on the findings of this study, we believe that the urban portion of the Hampton Roads area is short of parkland overall, particularly in certain strategic locations such as its urban core and its waterfront. The five major cities of the Hampton Roads area have a combined total of 30,483 acres of public parkland, just over 10 percent of the five cities’ combined land area. By comparison, much more crowded New York City actually has more parkland than all five of the Hampton Roads cities combined. And even though the five Hampton cities cover a much larger area than New York, Boston or the main cities of San Francisco Bay, the other three regions all have more parkland as a percentage of their cities’ land area than Hampton Roads.Even more striking is the deficit of public parkland along the shoreline in the Hampton Roads region compared to the three other port cities. Hampton Roads has almost twice as much city shoreline as New York City and more than nine times as much city shoreline as either Boston or the three San Francisco Bay cities. … Both New York City and the San Francisco Bay area have double the percentage of parkland along the shore, while Boston has almost three and a half times as much waterfront parkland.
This shortage deprives the region of many benefits that parks bring — from recreational opportunities to natural preservation, from enhanced property value to greater tourism revenue, from improved human health outcomes to increased community cohesion thanks to volunteerism in parks and the increased competitiveness of the region to businesses considering relocating to the area, especially those with a significant number of white collar workers.
It is important to recognize that some of Hampton Roads’ park shortage is due to the area’s heavy military presence. Of the region’s 12 major bases, nine are in the main cities. And because the shoreline along these bases is not publicly accessible, it is critical that Fort Monroe’s shoreline be conserved as open, public parkland in the future. Lastly, it is indisputable that parks created from old military installations prove themselves as significant tourism draws. Two nearby cases in point — Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Ga. and Fort Sumter near Charleston, S.C. — attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year as national parks. As a more impressive fort in a larger metropolitan area, Fort Monroe could be expected to have an even greater tourism impact.
Because of Fort Monroe’s bulls-eye central location within Hampton Roads, combined with its extraordinary collection of architectural, historical, recreational and conservation resources, we believe that its conversion to parkland would help reduce the parkland deficit of the entire Hampton Roads area and would also have significant positive spin-offs — economic and otherwise — for the entire region.
New National Monument Declared; Site of Previous TPL Study
Washington, D.C. – 11/01/2011
The Trust for Public Land today praised the decision by President Obama to designate Fort Monroe in Virginia as a national monument as part of the implementation of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
“Fort Monroe is an outstanding national resource and is a wonderful convergence of environmental, military, historical, and political issues in a singular point of land,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land. “We congratulate President Obama for deciding to protect it as a national monument. This will be great for the Hampton Roads region and for the nation as a whole, and The Trust for Public Land is pleased to have helped make the case for this new park.”
Obama’s declaration means that just over half the 570-acre site will be protected by the National Park Service, including the Virginia Tidewater region’s main fortress and moat, along with access to beaches a large amount of open space. Built in the early 1800s, Fort Monroe is the third-oldest Army post still in continuous active service.
In September, 2007, based on an earlier research project in nearby Norfolk, Va., The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence was approached by a local group, the Committee for a Fort Monroe National Park. The committee wanted an evaluation of where the city of Hampton, which includes Fort Monroe, and the entire Hampton Roads region ranked in park land, compared to other areas of the country.
In a 2008 report, the Center for City Park Excellence found Hampton and three nearby cities – Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News – are below average in parks, compared to similar cities across the country. This is true when measured both on a per-capita basis and as a proportion of the size of the city. Of the five local cities, only Virginia Beach ranks above the national average in parkland.
“Not only will Fort Monroe stand as a unique park for the entire nation,” said Peter Harnik, director of the Center, “it will also serve to increase the park acreage of the underserved city of Hampton and its neighboring communities.”
The report, entitled Bracing for Change: Fort Monroe and the Need for Parkland in Hampton Roads, is available for download from The Trust for Public Land website.
(17) Update: Virginia tourism revenues topped $20 billion in 2011; boon felt in Hampton Roads
By Jon Cawley, email@example.com | 757-247-4635
5:14 p.m. EDT, September 5, 2012
Virginia tourism revenue topped $20 billion in 2011 — an 8 percent increase over the previous year that was mirrored by visitor spending in Hampton Roads localities during the same period.
The data was included in a U.S. Travel Association report “The Economic Impact of Domestic Travel on Virginia Counties 2011″ that analyzed information on domestic visitors who traveled at least 50 miles from home. The report listed Virginia Beach — with 2011 visitor expenditures of $1.2 billion — as one of the top five localities impacted by tourism spending.
Norfolk came in seventh place statewide with $690.49 million in revenue (up 7.9 percent from 2010) and Williamsburg claimed the ninth position with $488.48 million (up 6.5 percent). Additionally, Newport News came in 16th with $260.19 million (up 6.5 percent); Hampton placed 19th with $212.76 million (up 7.5 percent); and York rounded out the top 20 with $198.51 million (up 9.1 percent).
The figures appear to be evidence of continued recovery from a prolonged economic recession that thoroughly battered the tourism industry, especially in 2008 and 2009.
“It’s good, but we need to keep in mind where we’re coming from. Revenues are still way below what was achieved in 2007,” said Vinod Agarwal, an Old Dominion University economist who studies the Hampton Roads tourism industry. “It’s not necessarily excellent news.”
Agarwal continued to say economic indicators suggest 2012 will be better than last year — in terms of tourist spending — but it would likely take another couple of years to regain the region’s former luster.
Richard Shreiber, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, took a more optimistic approach and said efforts to market the region to niche and off-season travelers was paying off.
“All three locations in the Historic Triangle were up 6-9 percent — that’s encouraging,” Shreiber said. “It says the Historic Triangle, as a whole, is prospering to a degree it didn’t a year or two ago. That’s important.”
According to the data, spending by visitors to other Peninsula-area localities included:
•Gloucester: $40.89 million; up 7.5 percent
•Isle of Wight: $35.55 million; up 7.2 percent
•James City County: $355.74 million; up 6.1 percent
•Poquoson: $2.7 million; up 4.7 percent
Tourism-related revenue also provided a total of $1.32 billion in state and local taxes to Virginia localities, according to the data. Of that, spending in Hampton Roads localities generated $159.42 million and $140.49 million respectively in state and local taxes.
In a statement, Gov. Bob McDonnell called tourism “an instant revenue generator for Virginia.”
“Virginia’s tourism industry is bringing in more than $20 billion in revenue and providing more than 207,000 jobs for Virginians across the state,” McDonnell stated, in the release.
Scott Butler1 at 06:37 AM September 06, 2012
The increase in tourism revenue is good news for the state and for Hampton Roads. It should also be good news for Fort Monroe in the coming years, especially if the Fort Monroe Authority, the state board responsible for the property outside of the National Monument areas, acts wisely to enhance the fort’s tourist appeal. This means not only preserving the historic structures (through state ownership and maintenance or private ownership under strict restoration guidelines), but also making the natural environment as beautiful as possible for visitors. The chief means of accomplishing the latter goal would be to turn the Wherry Quarter, the area that divides the parts of Fort Monroe National Monument, into open green space with walking trails, picnic facilities, and access to the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. And having done this, the state should go one crucial step further and transfer Wherry to the National Monument, reinforcing the National Park Service brand and creating a continuous, beautiful national park from the northern ramparts of the old fortress to the north tip of Fort Monroe. If the FMA keeps its eye on the long-term benefits of tourism, it will transform the Historic Triangle into the Historic Quadrangle.
Virginia officials award grants to help promote local and regional tourism efforts
By Associated Press
3:10 AM EDT, August 15, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Tourism Corporation is planning to award more than $660,000 in grants to 45 tourism initiatives throughout the state.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday the marketing grants will help promote local and regional tourism efforts. The groups must match the state grant funds to create marketing projects such as websites, social media and advertisements.
Officials say tourism in Virginia generated $19 billion in revenue in 2010, provided $1.3 billion in state and local taxes and supported more than 200,000 jobs.
Projects receiving grants include promotion for various events such as the Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival and the Crooked Road Music Festival, as well as marketing efforts for tourism in places like Galax and Abington.
(18) 2012 SESSION
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 376
Commending the work of the Fort Monroe Authority, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, Hampton City Council, Governor of Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Preservation Virginia, and the National Park Service for their work in establishing Fort Monroe National Monument.
Agreed to by the House of Delegates, February 17, 2012
Agreed to by the Senate, February 23, 2012
WHEREAS, in 2005 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission approved the recommendation by the Secretary of Defense to close Fort Monroe as an Army post; and
WHEREAS, in 2007 the General Assembly created the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority to, among other matters, study, plan, and recommend the best use of the resources that will remain when the Army vacates the post; and
WHEREAS, in 2008, after considerable deliberation and public discourse, the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority approved the Fort Monroe Reuse Plan that recognized five distinct areas within the 565-acre site for future development and stewardship based on their characteristics; and
WHEREAS, in 2010 the General Assembly created the Fort Monroe Authority as the successor to the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority designating it to be responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the property on behalf of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, whose mission is to establish a Grand Public Place with a substantial unit of the National Park Service at its core, began regular monthly public meetings and served as a volunteer advocacy group to support the creation of a National Park Service unit at Fort Monroe; and
WHEREAS, there exists a Programmatic Agreement among the United States Army, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Fort Monroe Authority, and the National Park Service and was developed with 27 consulting parties; and
WHEREAS, such Programmatic Agreement establishes commitments to and processes for the appropriate stewardship of Fort Monroe, and articulated the desire to not take any action which would preclude the use of Fort Monroe as a National Park until consulting with the National Park Service; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park and City of Hampton Mayor Molly Ward worked together to lobby Congress and the President to establish a National Park Service unit at Fort Monroe; and
WHEREAS, Governor Robert F. McDonnell wrote a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar expressing his strong support for a National Park at Fort Monroe and outlining the boundaries of such a park; and
WHEREAS, at the urging of the Hampton City Council, the citizens of Hampton Roads rallied in a massive show of support during President Obama’s visit to the region on October 19, 2011, by launching a “Green Initiative” encouraging everyone to wear green to support the cause; and
WHEREAS, on November 1, 2011, President Obama signed a proclamation under the Antiquities Act designating approximately 244 acres of the property at Fort Monroe as a National Monument and an additional 80 acres preserved by a protective easement; and
WHEREAS, the Fort Monroe National Monument is currently comprised of two parcels and separated by land that shall be owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, along with other interested parties, has advocated for Wherry Quarter to be designed in a fashion that preserves and protects viewsheds between the Chesapeake Bay and the fortress to the maximum extent possible; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, along with other interested parties, has advocated for the development and use of Fort Monroe to be designed and undertaken in such a manner that at some point in time the two bifurcated National Park Service parcels could be permanently and substantially connected by the land owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia that now separates the two parcels; and
WHEREAS, the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, along with other interested parties, has also encouraged the maintenance of Batteries Parrott and Irwin and the land that lies between them and the Wherry Quarter on the Bay side of Fenwick Road in a manner that would allow at some point for them to be joined with adjacent National Park Service properties in a unified national park unit and discouraged development between the bifurcated parcels of the Fort Monroe National Monument on any land designated as public open space in the Master Plan for Fort Monroe; and
WHEREAS, the Fort Monroe Authority acknowledges the goals expressed by the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park and other interested parties; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly commend the Fort Monroe Authority, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, Hampton City Council, Governor of Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Preservation Virginia, and the National Park Service for their work in establishing the Fort Monroe National Monument; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the General Assembly commend the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park and other interested parties’ advocacy for preserving viewsheds to the maximum extent possible in the Wherry Quarter, the permanent and substantial connection of the bifurcated National Park Service parcels, the maintenance of Batteries Parrott and Irwin and connecting land to Wherry Quarter for eventual inclusion in the National Park Service property, and the discouragement of development between the bifurcated National Park Service parcels on any land designated as public open space in the Master Plan for Fort Monroe; and, be it
RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare copies of this resolution for presentation to the Fort Monroe Authority, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, Hampton City Council, Governor of Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Preservation Virginia, and the National Park Service as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for their work to establish a monument on one of the Commonwealth’s historic sites.