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Kaine OKs Fort Monroe reuse plan, which will direct redevelopment
The future of the 570-acre Army post calls for preserving its history while building anew.
By MATTHEW STURDEVANT | 247-7874
August 20, 2008
FORT MONROE - ó Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Tuesday approved a broad reuse plan that will allow Fort Monroe to become a combination tourist destination, park, and community of homes, offices and retail businesses.
An 18-member Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority has worked with consultants on the delicate act of preserving the post, which is a nationally registered landmark, while coming up with a plan to have it bring in enough revenue to pay for maintenance, restoration and improvements. The authority approved the plan in June and it was submitted to the governor for final approval.
"I am pleased with the work of the FMFADA over the past 18 months to create a plan for Fort Monroe that ensures this spectacular and historic property will be enjoyed by many generations to come," Kaine said in a prepared statement. "I also am pleased that the process to create the reuse plan has included many community and regional leaders, experts in historic preservation and economic development, the city of Hampton, and the National Park Service."
Kaine will sign the reuse plan at 9 a.m. today at the Chamberlin Hotel on the historic military installation and he will tour the post. The event is open to the public.
The reuse plan divides the post into management zones. Each zone has a recommended way the land could be used: as open space for a park, in a way that adapts existing buildings for some nonmilitary use, or as a site for new development. The authority will market the property with the goal of getting contracts and leases so the post remains a financially sustainable community, said authority Executive Director William A. Armbruster. Only during the contracting and leasing phase will it be clear what the future of each particular building or lot.
The 570-acre fort is revered as a coastal defense site dating back to Colonial times, as a beacon of freedom to slaves who fled there to be deemed contraband of the Civil War, and as an artillery training base from 1824 through World War II.
In 2005, the Pentagon announced that Fort Monroe would be closed as part of a military realignment to cut costs and modernize the military. The Army is expected to move out in September 2011 and the land will revert to the commonwealth.
The transition has piqued interest from people who see it for its historic importance and as a great location to live, work or play, a waterfront settlement of brick buildings, well-manicured lawns and a giant moated fortress.