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Is College in Fort Monmouth's Future?

State agency forms committee to explore the idea.

Officials from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) are considering bringing a technical college to Fort Monmouth, Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace reported last week.

Irace said an Oceanport resident inquired about the possibility of converting the former fort property into a college campus at held at Oceanport's on Jan. 18.

According to Irace, EDA CEO Caren Franzini said the state agency has formed a committee to explore the idea.

"Hopefully, knock on wood, they're going to take the model that New York City is taking for Roosevelt Island that brought in Cornell University," Irace told council. "They seem to be pretty enthused by it. Cross your fingers and hope, I think it's the best solution at Fort Monmouth for what Oceanport's needs are."

Borough Attorney John O. Bennett, III asked Irace where the college might be located, noting most colleges are tax-exempt. Irace said the EDA hadn't yet indicated a location, and acknowledged a school would not bring the town any tax revenue, but said it could provide policing and security for the property, which is currently being handled by .

Irace said nearby takes care of their own garbage collection and lawn maintenence, saving West Long Branch from expending tax dollars on the services. Councilwoman Ellynn Kahle added that Monmouth often makes donations to West Long Branch. Recently, .

"We're not getting any kind of tax money from Fort Monmouth now, so if you can offset it with something that could create jobs, that would be a good thing," Irace said, pointing to ancillary businesses like pizza places and coffee shops which could potentially spring up around a campus to provide jobs for locals.

"Instead of being a burden to us, it would actually add to the community, so I think it would be a win-win," said Kahle.

Julie Kaye January 26, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I think this is a great use of the space. A college focused on high tech, science, computer technology or healthcare -- where the future jobs are.
Ryan Kondracki January 26, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Monmouth University also donated money for an ambulance for the West Long Branch First Aid Squad. I'm sure it is a nice gesture for the amount of times they are called to the university. A college would be a great idea. I also think that space should be available for commercial purposes. Maybe just outside the space designated for the school. That would help increase revenue in the towns.
Zeke January 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM
I've been suggesting this for years, and the idea has been pushed up to the Assemblypeople too. What you should do is take Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, sell all that great property with Manhattan views, move the whole thing from that cramped campus to the Fort. Then take Kean College and the NJ Institute of Technology from their cramped campuses and put them on the Fort too. Call it NJ Tech Univ. The campus already has housing, playing fields, dining halls, a supermarket, a convenience store, parking, classrooms, a bowling alley, an indoor swimming pool, and the potential for a NJ transit train stop with direct service to New York, Newark. It would bring year round high paying jobs to the campus, and the students and employees would bring retail revenue and rental revenue to the entire surrounding area. If you were smart you would link in the future of Monmouth Park Racetrack with it and open up the racetrack property during non-horseracing season to be a stadium for sporting events and graduations, use their parking lots for additional parking and as additional open space / recreational areas (basketball, soccer, lacrosse, walking paths). The main Fort campus would have access from the GSP side through old main gate, from Route 36 from the Oceanport side, and perhaps open a third entrance off Ave of Commons (behind Staples). Or if Tech schools don't come then make Stanford a sweet deal or recruit a few graduate school programs to set up there.
Dana Flynn January 27, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I think all of the ideas presented here are excellent ones. Why not bring Stevens, or another technical school here. Fort Monmouth is the perfect spot! How can we lobby to move this idea forward? DTFlynn
reginald sears March 16, 2012 at 05:38 PM
This property was offered and refused by every college in the state of new jersey early in the process . I worked at Fort Monmouth for 45 years in facilities . There are several underlying issues with this property and buildings that in my opinion is going to ruin Oceanport as we know it today but i remain optimistic .

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