The National Park Service is seeking comments on three new alternative concepts for the Site Development Plan Environmental Assessment/Assessment of Effect in a public meeting Wednesday evening.
After residents voiced opposition to prior plans involving the removal of picnic pavilions at the park, the National Park Service decided to re-evaluate its plans and formulate new alternatives.
“We decided we would take a step back over the winter and we started looking at new alternatives,” said Park Ranger Ben Helwig. “This is how the process is supposed to work.”
NPS planner Thomas Sheffer stressed that the NPS is looking within the highlighted zones on the concept maps to build contact stations.
“A lot of the planning would require phasing, and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Sheffer said.
The alternative concepts are as follows:
Alternative Concept 1: No Action
Under this alternative, no changes would be made aside from continued maintenance and necessary improvements to aging infrastructure, according to Helwig.
Alternative Concept 2: Area A Contact Station
This alternative would place a visitor contact station in area A, which would not affect the current placement of picnic pavilions.
Alternative Concept 3: Area B Contact Station
This alternative would place a visitor contact station in area B, in the area of a picnic pavilion. This alternative would involve the removal of ballfields to realign the loop road.
Alternative Concept 4: Area C Contact Station
This alternative would place a visitor contact station in what is now parking area C. This would also involve the removal of a restroom and parking area to realign the loop road. This concept would also restore a sight line of vision of the Potomac from Battery Robinson or Battery Sater at the east side of the park.
“Just because we’re citing that area as visitor contact station, there’s no building design and doesn’t mean picnic pavilions are going to be removed,” stressed Sheffer.
An interpretive trail is indicated in the plans with a dotted purple line. This trail would help “tell the story” of the park’s history, Sheffer noted.
The NPS will consider public input from Wednesday’s meeting in drafting the new Fort Hunt Site Development Plan EA/AoE, to be released this fall.
Comments may be submitted at tomorrow’s meeting or via the Fort Hunt Planning/NPS website. The comment period will close on July 28. Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and view the plans at tomorrow's meeting, but oral comments will not be heard.
Wednesday's meeting will take place at at 6:30 p.m.