By Neil Schulman
Since the federal government has decided to close the commissary at Fort Monmouth next week when the rest of the base closes, locals are trying to get Earle Naval Weapons Station a commissary instead.
The commissary is used not only by active military members, but also by veterans and retirees. It serves approximately 19,000 area residents, many of whom are on a fixed income and rely on the discounts it provides.
The next closest commissary is in Fort Dix. Officials have said they have received numerous calls from veterans and retirees who say they are unable to make the hour-long commute.
Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon, a member of the Fort Monmouth Economic Redevelopment Authority, reported on Thursday he had received an e-mail saying that Earle meets the standards to have a commissary, and he is passing the information on to officials in Washington, D.C., who might be able to influence this.
NWS Earle does not have a commissary of its own, but qualifies to have one under the legal requirements, since it has enough active military personnel. Because it is located in Colts Neck, it would be much more convenient for locals. It might also be possible for Earle to take control of the building on the Fort Monmouth property.
Oceanport Councilman John Ibex, who serves on the FMERA Veterans Committee, said that he had also been trying to reach their representatives in Washington, with no success getting in touch so far. However, he hoped others were successful in getting a new commissary for Earle.
“It only makes sense to keep this commissary open, or relocate it to somewhere near,” he said.
Fort Monmouth update
Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo will give an update on what’s happening at Fort Monmouth on Tuesday, September 13 at 7 p.m. at Eatontown Borough Hall, Broad Street.
The mayor will update the community on the impact of Fort Monmouth’s closure to Eatontown and the surrounding communities. He is taking questions from the audience. All members of the community are encouraged to attend.
Tarantolo, as mayor of one of the three host communities for Fort Monmouth, is a member of FMERA, which is overseeing the transition from military base to new uses.
The mayor will be giving the speech on the same day the the Army holds a Garrison Inactivation ceremony. The Army will officially leave the fort two days later, marking the official closing at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15.