What’s one of the biggest historic redevelopment efforts in the Chesapeake watershed? How does its potential illustrate all the connections between urban areas, public access and land conservation? Take a look at what’s happening at Fort Monroe.
In 2011 President Barack Obama used the 1906 Antiquities Act to proclaim over half of the 561 site as Fort Monroe National Monument, making it part of the National Park System. Fort Monroe, one of the 19th century coastal defenses within the Chesapeake Bay, is the largest masonry fort in the nation with a rich and multifaceted history that goes well beyond size.
Jutting out into the Bay at Hampton Virginia near Norfolk, the site also includes extensive office, retail and residential property, churches, restaurants, a craft brewery and more. The Fort Monroe Authority, which manages redevelopment of the roughly one-third of the fort being transferred to the Commonwealth of Virginia from the U.S. Army, is looking ahead to how this historic site will be preserved, how its rich history will be shared, and how to make it economically sustainable.
The Authority has just released a Request for Qualifications seeking expertise to assist in redeveloping Fort Monroe “into a vibrant, mixed-use community that creates social, cultural, and economic successes.” For anyone interested in how our region is approaching the challenges of connecting heritage, conservation, public access, community and economy, it’s worth taking a look — and watching how this effort evolves!