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FMERA Approves Sale Of Fort Monmouth Land To Oceanport

OCEANPORT: The former Fort Monmouth will now officially be home to the borough's new municipal complex.

The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) approved a purchase and sale and redevelopment agreement with Oceanport for the 13-acre parcel during its June 20 meeting.

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

The borough will pay just over $1 million for the property and will spend about $10 million to renovate the buildings.

According to the agreement, Oceanport will also contribute 1/3 of the cost, not to exceed $50,000, for a new water main starting at the intersection of Gosselin Avenue and Murphy Drive, and running along Murphy Drive to the property. It will also contribute a maximum of $75,000 towards the cost of a new Jersey Central Power and Light substation no earlier than 18 months and no later than 24 months of the date of closing.

The borough is obligated to begin renovating and demolishing the buildings within 6 months of closing and must complete both processes by Dec. 31, 2018.

Mayor Jay Coffey presented FMERA with a $50,000 check as a down payment for the property.

An $11 million bond ordinance was adopted by the council earlier this year which will cover the acquisition and rehabilitation of the buildings as well as the design, planning and engineering work associated with the project.

Borough Administrator Ray Poerio has 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 be sold, and the revenue generated from the sale will also be used to offset construction costs.

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has given the borough 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. 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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