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Oceanport's New Municipal Building Could Be At Fort Monmouth

OCEANPORT: The borough council is moving closer to showing off its plans to build a new municipal complex at Fort Monmouth.

The borough's police department and department of public works (DRW) have already taken up residency at the fort after their previous headquarters were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The borough has been searching for a new library, borough hall and other services since that time, and the council appears to have settled on the 900 Area of Fort Monmouth, which is located off of Main Street.

Building 901 is large enough to contain a variety of a different uses including a library, community center or courtroom. Building 918, which is 8,500 square feet with a large tract of land next to it, could become the borough's next municipal headquarters. The adjacent tract could be used as a community garden.

Mayor Jay Coffey said at the Nov. 3 Oceanport Council meeting that the next steps in the process should happen soon.

"The county of Monmouth completed its end of the transaction as far as the financing associated with the state's purchase of the Army's interest in the 562 acres that's left at the Fort Monmouth property; 430 acres of which are in Oceanport," Coffey said.

The financing will allow the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority to finalize the purchase and sale agreements for three key parcels in Oceanport.

"Hot on the heels of that will be this municipal council's moving forward with the purchase of the 13.25 acres for our municipal complex," Coffey said. "We're holding off on that until they finish the financing there."

The mayor said the public will then be brought into the discussion.

"We definitely want to have at least two open houses down there so people can see the 40,000 square feet of available space, how convenient it will be and how it's going to be a municipal campus," he said.

He said at that time the council will be able to answer the public's question on the details of what would be included, the cost and the savings compared to other previous options for a borough hall site.

The borough has looked at several options in the past including the old village center on East Main Street, Maria Gatta Park and Wolf Hill School.

He added that a public charrette will also be held at Maple Place School for those who cannot make it to the open houses. No specific dates have been set at this time.

The council still has a decision to make on the old borough hall property on Monmouth Boulevard.

"We've had an appraisal performed on it and the municipal council will, at some juncture, decide whether or not we're going to put it up for sale," Coffey said.

He said if it were not sold, there is a possibility that it could be turned into a park. If it were sold, the money made could be used to offset the cost of building the municipal complex at Fort Monmouth.

The borough currently has $3.5 million in FEMA funding available for the municipal complex.


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