Fort Monroe Authority Meeting Coverage
Written by Daniel Curran
Thursday June 23, 2011
The Fort Monroe Authority Executive Committee held a regular meeting
Up first was John Hutchinson who spoke about the feasibility of Long-Term
Pre-Paid Leases and Residential Leaseholds. The bottom line is leaseholds
are not a viable option. He reported that Citizens for Fort Monroe National
Park are comfortable with long-term leases, but they are not comfortable with
transfer of property.
One option being “looked at” is the government transfer of public improvements
(buildings) but not the land.
However, there is concern that in order to secure mortgages the land will also
have to convey.
Regardless, any action taken will need General Assembly approval, so a final
decision of what to do now that the properties cannot be sold by leasehold will
need to be made this fall.
FMA Chair Terry Suit stated, “We want to conclude this by the second week in
November, so that we can draft legislation for the General Assembly.”
She then reminded everyone that citizens will have input at the next meeting.
A draft plan for the public to review will be put up on the FMA’s website within
the next few days.
Nominees for the Planning Group. The Planning Group will be similar to a
planning commission in a local government. Appointed members will review conceptual
projects and conceptual designs and send their recommendations to the Fort Monroe
Authority. It is anticipated that twelve people will serve on the group. Even though
Chair Terry Suit has the authority to appoint, nominations are being accepted. To
date, twenty-one names have been nominated for the Planning Group. A comment was made,
“We still need someone with an insurance background. A few names will still be added
to the nominating stack over the next week or so. One name mentioned who has been
nominated was Larry Cummings, and attorney with Kaufman and Canoles, would represent
the Coliseum Central District if selected.
The FMA Foundation.
Nominees who have not already been contacted for the foundation will be contacted
over the next month. A few names of those nominees will be accepted at the next
FMA meeting so the Foundation “can be defined”.
FMA Terry Suit, “Let’s get a foundation up and running.”
FMA Board Member James Church is the Chair of the committee.
FMA Chair Terry Suit, “The expectations need to be carefully managed. We may not
see profits from this project for 7, or 8, or even 10 years.”
She continued, “Economically sustainability will not happen very quickly and we
all have different ideas about what that should be.”
She further explained, “Ft. Monroe should be depicted as a National Treasure.”
The FMA will work with the committee over the next few weeks to discuss “brand
development and positioning”, and issues such as fundraising.
Hampton Mayor Molly Ward gave a National Park Service update. Bruce Sturk
told the group, “The working group has reached a consensus with all groups
involved on the Bill to introduce to Congress.“
At the July meeting, there will be an attempt to have the full board to
approve the Bill. If approved, the Bill will be taken to Senators Warner
and Webb, and U.S. Representative Ridgell to introduce to the Congress.
Bruce Sturk, “Those are the ones who are sponsoring the Bill for us.”
About getting President Obama to sign a resolution- Bruce Sturk, “Right
now, the President still has the authority to make Fort Monroe a National
Park. However, there is discussion of a proposed bill in Congress that will
strip away the President’s ability to fund the Antiquities Act."