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Despite Latest Setback, FMERA Committed To Veterans Community At Fort

TINTON FALLS: The plan to bring a veterans community to Fort Monmouth has hit another snag.

The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) announced during it March 16 meeting that a potential developer for the proposed site has withdrawn their proposals following "several discussions."

The developer was never announced to the public as FMERA never decided to enter into exclusive negotiations or draft a purchase and sale agreement with them.

"Near the end of the process for the Tinton Falls parcel, we ran into a couple of issues that had not been addressed at length by the proposed developer, so we have to start over," FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said. "(The project) is not dead, it's just another start-over."

The land where the development is proposed to be built is a 15-acre site located in the Tinton Falls Reuse Area of the former fort. FMERA had set a minimum bid of $650,000 for the property, which is made up of three sub-parcels. Just over eight acres of the site is developable, while the remainder contains 3.3 acres is made up of wetlands and a landfill area. The landfill areas should be closed within 2 years, and could possibly be used parking or passive recreational open space in the future.

The veterans community project has has a tough road since it was originally announced in the Fort Monmouth redevelopment plan. It was originally planned for Eatontown but the RFOTP process was terminated when the potential developers were not willing to pay the minimum price for the property.

The decision was then made to place the community in Tinton Falls; an idea that was welcomed by the borough, according to Mayor Gerald Turning.

Steadman said, despite the setback, that FMERA is committed to bring the community to the fort.

"I can speak for the (FMERA) board and the staff when I say we are 100 percent, and have been 100 percent, committed to a veterans community," Steadman said. "The process of getting to a point where there's a developer that will do that type of project is very complicated."

FMERA Chairman James Gorman said as head of the board's real estate committee, that he will "redouble" the efforts to find a developer for the community.

"This is the third of fourth do-over on this project, and nobody is happy about it," Gorman said.

Monmouth County Freehold Lillian Burry, who heads the board's veterans committee, said she also wants to see the project progress as there are 350 homeless veterans in the county.


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