Originally published July 28, 2011
By Jonathan Weber
Eatontown — Of the 452 acres of Fort Monmouth in the borough, 130 of it contains the golf course. In a conversation with Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo, he revealed there are eight different groups that have expressed interest in the Fort’s golf course and the Gibbs Hall Club House.
While it may not seem like much, it is a start on the redevelopment of the military facility after the September 15 closing. Gibbs Hall is a historic building.
The closing has been devastating to the Eatontown; 2010 population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the town lost about 2,000 people in the last few years, mostly as a result of the fort’s demise. It appears the first real housing units won’t be built until 2013 at the earliest. The school population has taken a nosedive.
But the first candidate for renewal at the Fort, according to the Mayor, is the Howard Commons area. It is already adjacent to current housing developments in Eatontown and the project was under review for redevelopment well before the announcing of the base closure.
Plans are to put up 260 units, of which 20 percent would be affordable housing. The Mayor has been talking to Habitat for Humanity to construct the low income housing.
Tinton Falls might also share some of the early work as some buildings on its share of the Fort, as structures in the Tinton Falls area have already been torn down. There also has been some interest in the Marina in Oceanport.
Not only is Fort Monmouth in the crosshairs, but some interest has been expressed by developers in the Old Orchard Country Club. The golf course was the scene of controversy when developers wanted to erect a hotel, a large shopping center, and a lot homes on the property. That plan did not win approval from Council and as a result Old Orchard was sold back to its former owners.
Now Tarantolo is talking with several groups that expressed interest in taking over the land. The Mayor doesn’t want “2,000 pounds of fertilizer in a 100 pound bag,” as he described the last set of proposals.
Plans are moving forward to put 120 residential units on the grounds of Mr. B’s. The facility has changed hands several times in the past year or so and the original proposal was tied up in court for several years. In the Industrial Park centered on Industrial Way, DataComm has moved into incubator space as it decides whether or not to make Eatontown its permanent home, and the Veteran’s Administration has moved into the Park with a data processing center.
In Monmouth Mall, Boscov’s has reorganized from its bankruptcy and is reopening their old store there. They are already in the process of rehiring.