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Plans For New Oceanport Municipal Complex Presented

OCEANPORT: The plans for the borough's new municipal complex have been unveiled to the public.

Architect Eli Goldstein showed off the plans for the complex, which would be located in the 900 area of the former Fort Monmouth, during the Jan. 19 Oceanport Council meeting.

The complex would be situated on 13 acres and include several buildings totaling over 40,000 square feet. There are 10 buildings on the site currently, but three will be demolished to make way for more parking. The remaining buildings will be renovated to make way for several borough functions:

• Building 901 for borough offices, municipal court and library

• Building 918 for a senior/community center

• Building 977 for the police department and office of emergency management

• A former kennel that would utilized as a borough storage facility

• The buildings currently utilized by the borough's department of public works

One resident asked Borough Administrator Ray Poerio why the size of the site is so large. Poerio said there were always space issues at the old borough hall and that the additional acres the borough will pick up once the fort is redeveloped will increase the need for more borough services.

Poerio said the new municipal complex will make the borough more attractive for other towns looking to share services.

Mayor Jay Coffey added that building a municipal complex from scratch would also be much more costly.

An $11 million bond ordinance was introduced by the council during its Jan. 5 meeting that would cover the acquisition and rehabilitation of the buildings in the 900 area of the former fort, which is located off of Main Street. The funding would also cover any design, planning and engineering work associated with the project.

Poerio said that because the original municipal building was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the borough will likely be receiving over $5.5 million from FEMA to help cover the cost of the construction of the new complex. The old borough hall site will also likely be sold, and the revenue generated from the sale will also be used to offset construction costs.

Poerio said he was recently notified by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders that it will be receiving a $250,000 grant that will be used toward the acquisition of the municipal complex for the preservation of open space.

These three things will give the borough $7.2 million toward the project which has an estimated cost of $8.4 million. Additional improvements such adding LED lighting, improving the HVAC of the buildings and repaving the parking lot could raise the cost of the project by a total of $2 million. Poerio called these types of improvements "alternates" and said the council will have final say on which ones are incorporated into the project.

Poerio said at its current price, the owner of a borough home assessed at the average of just over $440,000 would see an $7 per month increase on their tax bill.

Read more from: Oceanport

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