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Fort Monroe plan to hit Web this week
The reuse plan is a concept, but an agreement with the Army will have specifics.
By MATTHEW STURDEVANT
April 29, 2008
HAMPTON - An early draft of a plan for Fort Monroe's future will be online by the end of the week, complete with suggestions for different zones within the 570-acre historic Army post.
The plan replaces an earlier version submitted to the Hampton Federal Area Redevelopment Authority in November 2006, which drew public outcry because it called for condominiums and other development on the post.
The Hampton authority was changed last year into an 18-member Fort Monroe authority with five board members appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, four appointed by the General Assembly and nine appointed by the city of Hampton.
The Army plans to leave Fort Monroe in September 2011, and the authority is trying to find a way to preserve historic artifacts and buildings on the post while still raising enough money to maintain everything on it.
The reuse plan is conceptual, and doesn't get into specific suggestions for buildings. For example, the southern section of the base — which includes brick buildings and the Old Point Comfort marina — might be good for a mix of retail shops, offices and homes, while the northern section could be a park with a public beach, according to the plan.
The controversial part is what will happen to the Wherry Housing area north of the moat. Some would like to see the area made into park space, others suggest it be developed in some way. The reuse plan skirts the issue by designating that section's future as "to be determined."
There will be an opportunity for public comment on the reuse plan during the authority's May 28 meeting before the plan is sent to Kaine's office for approval.
The reuse plan doesn't address how each building is to be preserved, which is the concern of many interested in protecting the historic integrity of the post.
Instead, a separate agreement between the Army and the authority will have requirements regarding how the buildings are to be preserved and maintained.
The so-called "programmatic agreement" overseen by the Army will be a catalog of protective measures ranging from the exterior aesthetics of buildings to the historic view from a casemate. That agreement is still in process and will be finalized in August.
"The Army and the FMFADA are on separate tracks, but we enjoy a good partnership so we have been able to adjust the reuse plan to comply with the historic guidelines in advance," said Bill Armbruster, the authority's executive director.
Fort Monroe is scheduled to close as an Army installation as part of the Pentagon's 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plans to cut spending, make the military more efficient and consolidate bases.
The authority's board met Monday. In addition to discussing the reuse plan and the programmatic agreement, the board announced that former interim executive director Conover Hunt was chosen as deputy executive director.
Hunt headed the authority until Armbruster was hired in February, and then she remained employed as a consultant.
To see the reuse plan for Fort Monroe, visit www.fmfada.com. The plan will be on the Web site later this week.