Fort Monmouth Tour Shows Business Owners Potential For Property
“The time for mourning is over, the time is for rebirth. “
That was the message Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry gave an audience at the Monmouth Ocean Development Council during a presentation by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) on the future for the decommissioned Army Base along with a guided bus tour of the base.
Executive Director Bruce Steadman and facilities director Rick Harrison discussed the challenges and potential the eleven hundred and fifty acre property presents.
"In presentation at Gibbs Hall at the Sun Eagle Golf course on the grounds of the base, both Steadman and Harrison highlighted the main goal of redevelopment is to create jobs.
"we’re looking to fill high tech jobs.”
“We’re not looking to fill entry level positions, we’re looking to fill high tech jobs.”
They highlighted that by attracting companies from around the state, country, and even world they are hoping to bring an entirely new industry with as many as five thousand jobs into the base.
“We would prefer to bring in jobs from outside the state outside the country to be truly new jobs to the area. We’re looking for high paying sustainable jobs, high tech jobs to replace the one’s that left.”says Harrison.
REINVESTMENT IN THE COMMUNITY
Harrison says beyond bringing in new jobs, FMERA’s goals for the property include reinvestment of the sale proceeds back into the community, ensure the Army resolves any environmental issues, and satisfy the stakeholder of the property (Eatontown, Ocean Port, and Tinton Falls).
Reinvestment into the community would be done through half of sales tax on the land going back into infrastructure work. Steadman noted that the Army has gone through procedures to mitigate all dangerous asbestos in the property in the sixty acres in question, noting all that remains is testing for individual land tracts.
Some of the challenges presented were to minimize outdated buildings and utilities and to maximize profitable jobs and ratable.
Steadman notes that often times that means not being afraid of demolishing outdated or undesirable structures.
“Too many other revitalization groups spend too much time trying to renovate or remodel outdated buildings when they should jus be torn down.”
One of the other challenges being faced is the inherent beauracracy of dealing with Army. Steadman notes that there are six different groups within the Army dedicated to redevelopment, each with their own lawyers, representatives, and tasks.
Steadman noted however that talks between the military and FMERA are going well, Harrison noting that we could expect to see results soon.
“It’s a challenge we have to reach some agreements with the Army and they have to get the property ready for transfer which means it’s go to be environmentally clean for but we expect to be moving some property this summer or early next fall.”