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Fort Monroe's future becomes controversial
By David Macaulay, firstname.lastname@example.org | 247-7838
With just seven months to go before the Army pulls out of historic Fort Monroe, a citadel that played a pivotal part of the Civil War, it has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room at any given meeting.
Fort Monroe dominated at last week's Hampton City Council meeting, and the united front presented by the city and the Fort Monroe Authority over the post's future shattered in public. At issue: the authority's idea to put hundreds of apartments at two key sites on the post. The city sent the authority a letter and resolution of opposition.
Developer HRI Properties, supported by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, wanted to convert into 445 multi-family residences a large office building on the parade ground within the moat and the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) complex in the historic village.
On Monday the authority said the city had seized on just one option and another proposal is for 192 properties within the moat, saving the TRADOC complex for job creation.
The issue highlighted a gap in rhetoric between council members such as Ross A. Kearney, who described the loss of more than 4,000 jobs at Monroe as an economic "tsunami" and the Fort Monroe Authority which is saying many of the jobs will remain in the region and the real loss is about 850 jobs.
The gap between the city and the authority could be widening but at least there will be plenty of talk to fill it. Fort Monroe is the topic of a town hall meeting organized by Councilwoman Angela Leary at the Phoebus Auction Gallery, 14 E. Mellen St., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday The guest speaker is Col. Anthony Reyes, garrison commander at Monroe.