Published in The Asbury Park Press on June 5, 2003
Post has been closed since 1993
COASTAL MONMOUTH BUREAU
The former military post – home to secret experiments from World War II through the first Persian Gulf War – has been closed since 1993 and is in the process of being transferred from federal to local ownership.
The process has been held up for years by an environmental cleanup project to remove contaminated soil. The cleanup is expected to cost $24 million by the time it is complete, Army officials said last week.
The latest step in the schedule to transfer ownership took place Monday night when the township Planning Board approved a subdivision of the 219-acre camp. Now that the property is divided into separate parcels, the Army can transfer deeds for each parcel to new owners.
The township this summer will take possession of about 167 acres, which represents most of the property. Brookdale Community College, which placed its New Jersey Coastal Communiversity at the camp, will be deeded about 26 acres.
The state will be deeded about 9 acres around Route 18, and Jersey Central Power & Light Co. will buy the camp’s remaining 4 acres at fair market value. That price has not been determined, Army officials said last week.
Any land transferred as a “public benefit conveyance” is done at no cost, according to Chuck Appleby, an Army official. The first transfers to the township and Brookdale should take place later this month, Appleby said last week. The rest of the camp should be turned over to new owners by fall 2004.
“We can get ready and sign the leases as soon as Roger McLaughlin, township attorney OKs them,” Joseph Verruni, township administrator, said Tuesday. “It shouldn’t take too long.”
Verruni added the township likely will hold a ceremony to celebrate the transfer of the deeds later this month.
Once the township officially owns the property, a group of volunteers led by Wall resident Fred Carl plans to turn the buildings at the camp into INFOAGE, an interactive museum that will teach area students about science, technology and the camp’s history. T he township also plans to use the camp for passive and active recreation.
page created August 30, 2003