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Will Obama's cash crunch affect National Park drive at Fort Monroe?
By David Macaulay
Anyone who attended the meetings held by the National Park Service to sound out the public mood for a National Park at Fort Monroe on Tuesday, would have gone away feeling the momentum is unstoppable.
I estimated there were about 400 people at the afternoon session at the Hampton Roads Convention Center and most of them were in favor of a National Park or a National Monument coming to Hampton.
A number of politicians used the expression "get it done" as a catch phrase for the drive to overcome its final hurdle.
But there's a need for Hampton not to get carried away. Last week the Associated Press reported on some of the dreadful potential implications of the President and Congress failing to cut a deal to increase the country's borrowing limit by the Aug. 2 deadline.
The report said National Parks and National Monuments could be temporarily shut and the government is even looking at selling off some national park land to make ends meet.
If such a climate persists it's very hard to imagine Barack Obama taking the time to designate a new National Monument at Fort Monroe.
There's also some evidence of a backlash, albeit on a small scale, about the fact the National Park Service doesn't want all of the Fort Monroe property, just an area delineated by the roads around the stone fort and the Dog Beach area in the north.
Steve Corneliussen, co-founder of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, although no longer a member, said in an email the bills before Congress and the requests to the president "call merely for a bifurcated, balkanized, token national park that includes only the parts of the Fort Monroe national historic landmark that no one ever meant to ruin anyway."
"The proposals exclude the parts of the officially recognized historic landscape that have always been in contention," he wrote.
But other members of the citizens group appeared to be more enthusiastic about the footprint for a National Park that was recently adopted by the Fort Monroe Authority, at Tuesday's meeting.