Communities Around Ft. Monmouth Prepare For Growth [AUDIO]
The superstorm affected communities of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls are taking a wait-and-see approach as their populations begin to swell on a neighboring shuttered military base.
Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon says they're expecting anywhere from 300 to 600 storm-displaced families to be housed for several months on Fort Monmouth and other families placed in permanent housing in surrounding communities. However, he says their immediate concern is educating additional school-aged children that move to the base.
Mahon said their high school and grammar school districts have already absorbed students from other districts displaced by the storm.
However, he says, "The state has indicated that busing would be provided from the home school district. That those children would be able to return to their home district and attend school where they normally would."
Mahon says Oceanport was also heavily impacted by the storm with one-third of its housing damaged or lost. He says he's already communicated with the State and FEMA about their inability to provide additional services within the Fort complex.
"We're hopeful that those services will be contracted for by the Fort by FEMA under this agreement to provide this temporary housing."
As far as police services, Mahon says the Fort is currently patrolled by the New Jersey State Police and he believes the State will continue to satisfy the law enforcement needs on the base.
However, he says providing housing is only one piece of the puzzle. Mahon says the other piece, is in helping to expedite the process of getting folks back into their homes.
"This the first time for so many of us to deal with FEMA, to go through the maze of applications and SBA loan applications and then other needs assistance. It's the first time for many of us to go through this process and then dealing with their flood insurance and trying to get those claims processed, dealing with contractors. So, the effort to get folks repaired, rebuilt and back in their homes, is really where I think the state can help the most."
One hundred nineteen Oceanport residents are displaced by the superstorm. Two hundred in neighboring Sea Bright.