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Panel to answer questions on Fort Monroe's future
The event's organizers hope to provide a lot of answers to the public.
By MATTHEW STURDEVANT | 247-7874
HAMPTON - Hampton is hosting a panel discussion to talk about the future of Fort Monroe, mostly as a way to explain to people what's being planned for the post which the Army will vacate in less than three years.
The speakers for next month's event include Virginia Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources Nikki Rovner, Executive Director of the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority Bill Armbruster, Hampton City Councilman George Wallace and Hampton City Manager Jesse Wallace. The discussion is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Jan. 9 and will be televised on cable Channel 47.
People have all sorts of questions about the post ranging from the removal of old cannon balls from the soil to beach access. The discussion is an opportunity for the public to find out answers. Anyone with a specific question for the panel should e-mail the question by Monday, Jan. 5, to Hampton Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Elizabeth Kersey, email@example.com.
City Manager Jesse Wallace said he expects people will want to know what kind of economic impact Hampton will sustain when the Army leaves in September 2011.
Rovner said one point of consensus among those interested in Fort Monroe is the desire by the public to have access to the post, including the sweeping stretch of beach at the north end.
The 570-acre historic Army base is already a mixed-use area where people live, work and relax. An initial plan is to maintain that mix by offering leases on buildings that will be used as housing, office space or for some other use.
As an example, the campus of historic buildings at the base could house satellite locations for universities and museums, among other things, Armbruster said.
Fort Monroe, at the junction of Hampton Roads Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay, has been a military post since colonial times and an active installation since 1819.
The Department of Defense decided to close the post as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure program. Some of the personnel will be moved to Fort Eustis in Newport News. In the meanwhile, the future of the base is being planned by the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority. The authority is an 18-person board including nine citizen appointees, five members of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's cabinet, and four members of the General Assembly.
Question about Fort Monroe?
If you have a question about the future of Fort Monroe that you'd like to direct to a panel, e-mail Hampton Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Elizabeth Kersey, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, Jan. 5.