Competing Plans for Ft Monroe

Jim Bacon mentioned the DP story, “Rift between city, state threatens Fort Monroe plans’ (Daily Press October 10, 2006) . The heart of the issue is who will be in charge of planning and managing the transition of Ft Monroe to other uses.

The Hampton City Council wants to be in charge. But, Ft. Monroe was never part of Hampton. So, the land should revert to the Commonwealth – the original owner.

The City has a plan that, at first glance, looks like a nice vision. But, there is another vision held by the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park (

Both visions point to the Presidio of San Francisco, California as the model for how to proceed.

But, the CFMNP argue “under the BRAC process applicable to closing military bases, Hampton has been designated the Local Redevelopment Authority by the Pentagon, and in turn Hampton has created a Federal Area Development Authority of seven Hampton residents to recommend to Hampton City Council a Fort Monroe reuse plan. Such plan would eventually be forwarded to the governor of Virginia for his review and ultimately to the federal government for its approval. However, this process is concurrent with completing other legally required processes, under the Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, both of which require that all feasible alternatives for the Fort be considered. Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park will (and we believe citizens should) participate in all these processes, but none of these procedures preclude individual citizens and groups from directly calling on Congress, the governor, state legislators, and other political leaders to support a national park at Fort Monroe.”

Sen. (R-sorta) Marty Williams supports handing Ft. Monroe over to Hampton.

Del. (R) Tom Gear is working with the CFMNP organization.

Marty and the Hampton City Council are allies in advocating increasing our taxes for transportation, establishing unelected, unaccountable, undivided powerful Regional Governments, etc.

Tom is against them. Furthermore, as a former Hampton City Council member, Tom opposed Hampton’s tax and spend schemes for 20 years. Hampton has a litany of big dollar projects, poorly managed and questionably awarded. This Hampton City Council bought new chairs for themselves – at about $7k a pieces. This City Council inappropriately fired the City Manager and had to settle a $5m lawsuit. The words ‘stewards of the public trust’ are never used in the same sentence with these elected officials.

Since, the voters of Hampton put these folks in office, they deserve the city government and schools they get. But, it’s unreasonable to give a national treasure and region gemstone over to these politicians and punish the rest of Tidewater and the Commonwealth.

Questions about the other vision? Contact Steven T. Corneliussen at

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5 responses to “Competing Plans for Ft Monroe”

  1. Just a sidenote to the comment on the City Manager’s firing.

    Most of Delegate Gear’s constituents in the City of Hampton were not pleased with the City Manager, and were happy to see him go.

    City Manager George Wallace was a thorn in Delegate Gear’s side the entire time he was on council. Of course, Delegate Gear, being the political whore he is, sided with those who thought the firing was unfair, even though that was not his personal opinion.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar

    JAB, As long as the City of Hampton preserves the actual Fort as a historical artifact and park, why not develop the area around it? What does the CFMNB propose doing with the surrounding, semi-developed acreage? Tear all the buildings down and turn it into greenspace? Just asking.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Jim:Check out their web site. They (National Park folks) propose doing what the Presidio did – new housing and businesses, etc. The issue is who plans and manages it.

  4. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Aahh, yes.

    I know nothing about this.

    Howver, it appears, that it is not so much a matter of vision, or even result, as it is of power.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Ray: You nailed it. It’s all about power.

    And trust. I tend to say let elected officials make decisions and then face the voters. The problem with handing the jewels over to Hampton alone is that they face only the voters of Hampton. The City Council has quite a track record for the past 20 years. I shudder to think that Hampton would run the whole show.

    So, National Park makes sense to me as an alternative. More adult supervision.

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