It has been an eventful 14 months at Fort Monroe. Glenn Oder, Executive Director of the Fort Monroe Authority, attributes the many accomplishments to the dedicated group of people committed to preserving the property, telling the story of Fort Monroe and creating a sustainable economic model. Oder is most impressed by the hundreds of people who have participated in the community meetings with Sasaki Associates, which is developing the master plan for the Fort’s future.

“I have been overwhelmed by the interest, participation and input we have received from individuals in the community who have made a conscious effort to be a part of this process,” Oder said. Fort Monroe has come to life with a number of special events, including OpSail, and the Music by the Bay Concert Series. The Authority has partnered with the City of Hampton to ensure that the fishing pier will remain free and open to the public. Outlook Beach was open all summer, and 350 local children daily attended YMCA Day Camp at Fort Monroe.

A big draw has been the opening of the Paradise Ocean Club. With pool and bathhouse memberships available, and dinner, music and dancing open to the public, the Club was a huge success. History continues to be the biggest attraction, however. The Casemate Museum remains open to the public and attendance has increased.

“Over the coming months, I look forward to additional events and opportunities to bring more people here to enjoy themselves,” Oder said.

This year we also introduced the new Fort Monroe logo, “Where Freedom Lives!” In consideration of the past, present and future of Fort Monroe, the theme of freedom ebbs and flows like the tide that laps against the granite walls of the stone fortress. The symbols in the new banner not only represent iconic features at Fort Monroe but also represent the goals of the Authority to create a place where we can all live, work, play and learn at Fort Monroe.

2013 will be even more eventful at Fort Monroe. The Virginia STEAM Academy, in partnership with Virginia Tech, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University and VMI, is evaluating a public boarding school with curriculum focus on science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics. Also scheduled to open is the Freedom Support Center, a highly collaborative “one stop” service facility for active, reserve and National Guard service members, their families and veterans by connecting these individuals and families that can assist with their current circumstances as well as the transition to civilian life.

The master planning process will also be completed sometime in 2013 and the Authority continues to solicit ideas from the public. Oder said the most exciting of those ideas involve the adaptive re-use of the Fort’s buildings and property, the development of programs and facilities to tell the history and the integration of green space into the master plan.