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Programmatic agreement signing establishes preservation guidelines for historic Fort Monroe
By Fort Monroe Press Release
Twenty-seven distinct consulting parties have been invited to add their concurring signatures to the historic fort’s official Programmatic Agreement, affirmed last month by the Army and five primary signatory parties. The PA provides a formal road map for the installation’s transfer out of federal ownership, the consequent disposal of excess and surplus property, and the conduct of environmental remediation.
Primary signatories included the Department of the Army, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority, and the National Park Service.
Consulting parties may join the signing ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday at Fort Monroe's Bay Breeze Community Center, where several upcoming Army mitigation procedures also will be discussed. The event is open to the general public.
As a consequence of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision, the Army will close Fort Monroe in September 2011. In order to fulfill its responsibilities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Army entered into consultation with stakeholders. The purpose was to review the closure and to establish rules and boundaries that will help mitigate, reduce or avoid adverse effects on the installation's significant number of historic properties.
The PA establishes preservation guidelines for whoever ultimately becomes the property’s steward. The subsequent management structure will allow the final owner of the property a framework of legally-defensible "fence posts" that will guide both future development and historic preservation on Fort Monroe. In this way, the PA satisfies the Army’s obligations under Section 106, and also provides a lawful, binding agreement that all stakeholders have been given an opportunity to shape. The Army ensured that the PA process incorporated community outreach in every step of development, offering periodic public workshops in Hampton, Norfolk, Richmond and Washington, D.C. The community has been kept apprised of the PA process through recurrent media announcements and a publically-accessible BRAC Web site, hosted by Fort Monroe.
Several keys to proper and successful management of the property were identified by the Army, the consulting parties and the public. These include the preservation of the post as a whole, retention of the post's overall character and quality, and recognition that areas of the installation possess their own unique features, character, and qualities.
Ultimately, the property was divided into six "Management Zones" – well-defined boundaries that share preservation goals and limitations while simultaneously encouraging flexible, individualized treatment options.
The PA is framed in three primary segments that designate Army mitigation responsibilities, FMFADA responsibilities, and Commonwealth of Virginia responsibilities. Army mitigation responsibilities, some of which will be discussed on June 1, include:
Fort Monroe was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 1960. It encompasses roughly 570 acres, including the moat-encircled stone fort, built between 1819 and 1834, the recently restored Historic Chamberlin (a resort hotel turned independent living community) and the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse. Both the Chamberlin and the lighthouse are separately inventoried on the National Register of Historic Places. A total of 189 other buildings, structures, objects and landscapes comprise the Fort Monroe NHL District.
Fort Monroe is strategically situated at the entrance to Hampton Roads in southeast Virginia. Historically, it was dubbed the "Gibraltar of the Chesapeake" for its role in protecting access to the rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay. The post is home to a number of commands, among them the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, Accessions Command, Reserve Officers' Training Corps Command, Joint Task Force – Civil Support (part of Homeland Security), and the Installation Management Command for the northeastern United States.
The Bay Breeze Community Center is located at 490 Fenwick Rd. on Fort Monroe. The public is reminded that valid photo identification for visitors ages 18 and older, and proof of current vehicle registration and insurance is required to access the installation. For more information, call 788-3205.