Measure to Begin Redevelopment of Fort Monmouth Property Signed into Law
FORT MONMOUTH – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would create the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority and begin preparing the region to survive the economic impact of a federal decision to close the base, was signed into law today by Governor Corzine.
“Today we look to the future,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “When the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) Commission decided to shut the doors on Fort Monmouth, it was a blow to the region, but we’re moving forward. With proper economic planning, smart growth and ethical redevelopment, we can turn the corner on this setback and realize a brighter tomorrow for the residents of Monmouth County.”
The bill, S-1472, would establish the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority in the Department of the Treasury. The Authority would be responsible for developing and implementing an economic conversion and revitalization plan for the Fort Monmouth property. The panel would include the mayors of the three municipalities that have a direct stake in the property — Tinton Falls, Eatontown and Oceanport — as well as members appointed by the Governor, a local business representative, and State representatives with expertise in labor issues, environmental issues, and redevelopment and real estate issues.
“We’re assembling a topnotch team of experts to guide the future of Fort Monmouth,” said Senator Karcher. “We have the best of the best giving their input in how to successfully cultivate the region’s economy. I look forward to the redevelopment panel’s recommendations, and will provide whatever legislative support I can to realizing the promise of Fort Monmouth’s economic recovery.”
Senator Karcher also noted that the Revitalization Authority would be governed by strict ethics regulations to ensure that redevelopment is accomplished without corruption. Additionally, the Authority would have to comply with the State’s “pay-to-play” restrictions that prohibit the agency from contracting with any business entity for more than $17,500 if the entity has made a contribution to any member of the Authority, or to the State, county or municipal party of any member sitting on the Authority.
“Not only is Fort Monmouth’s recovery essential to the region, but it’s important in that we’re showing that redevelopment can be done without the corruption that has characterized too many development deals in the past,” said Senator Karcher. “Monmouth County has faced the specter of public corruption, and our residents are looking for a better way. Through Fort Monmouth’s recovery, we can show that development without corruption works.”
The bill received final legislative approval from the Senate in March.