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Officials make case for extensive park at Fort Monroe
By David Macaulay, email@example.com | 247-7838
HAMPTON – The drive to create an extensive National Park at Fort Monroe after the Army vacates on September 15 is gathering momentum with a meeting between officials and National Park Service hierarchy on Friday.
At Wednesday's Hampton City Council work session City Manager Mary Bunting said she would be meeting NPS staff Friday in Washington DC along with Mayor Molly Joseph Ward and Bruce Sturk, Hampton's Director of Federal Facilities Support.
FMA Executive Director Bill Armbruster and will also be at the meeting. There will also be a meeting with the city's congressional delegation, Bunting said.
Bunting said meetings with lobbyists are also planned as part of the initiative.
The city is seeking the creation of a more extensive National Park that the one floated by NPS officials last year.
The NPS said it was interested in the area delineated by the road system around the fort and the moat including the fortress. Certain buildings were identified as possibilities for the National Park Service to own and manage.
Bunting spoke Wednesday of a "large scale grand national presence" that would tell the history of Fort Monroe, pointing out the city supports a much larger footprint than that originally proposed by the NPS.
"We have not reached a final decision on the footprint that has been adopted by the Fort Monroe Authority … but the unanimous statement that the groups working on this have developed is we all agree on a more expansive role than was originally articulated by the National Park Service." Bunting said.
"All parties agree on a much more expansive role than what was initially articulated by the National Park Service," Bunting said. The FMA may take a formal position on the size of a park at its March 24 board meeting.
A National Park could be designated by one of two routes; through Congressional authorization or a Presidential declaration under the Antiquities Act. Bunting said the city is "pursuing a parallel path" exploring both routes.
In January, Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb sent a letter to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis expressing "strong interest in the Fort Monroe site." They referred to a 2008 study that "concluded that resources associated with Fort Monroe are nationally significant and likely to be found suitable for potential designation as a unit of the national park system."
The group Citizens for Fort Monroe National Park has been pressing for a national park larger than the one NPS expressed an interest in.,/p>
"CFMNP is now working with a coalition of mainly national organizations; National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Virginia, Civil War Preservation Trust, and Chesapeake Conservancy, to develop a consensus vision of a Fort Monroe National Park," said member Scott Butler "The coalition thinks that all of Fort Monroe should be within NPS boundaries, though some parts of it would still be managed by the state."