From the Asbury Park Press:
Fort’s impending closure spurs worries
By Joseph Sapia
It is not expected to close for another five years, but filling the void that will be when Fort Monmouth closes was on people’s minds at an economic development summit here Friday.
In addition to losing the 5,000 jobs directly tied to the base, the closing of the base also affects businesses that rely on the fort for survival, said Robert Lucky, chairman of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority.
“I need the help of the public,” said Lucky, a summit speaker. “I need to know how to bring businesses in there (when the fort closes).”
About 170 people attended the event at Branches, which was sponsored by the county to develop strategies for stimulating economic development.
Because of the negative impact of the Fort Monmouth closure, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, more restrictive laws and environmental regulations, county officials have to work to make sure jobs are available, said Anna C. Little, a member of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders.
“Many of the forces changing the economic landscape in Monmouth County give very little to no warning,” said Little, the summit moderator. “In the case of Fort Monmouth, we are fortunate to have some advance warning.
“As we react to forces already affecting our economy, it makes sense to take the eventual closure of Fort Monmouth into consideration, too, and create a sustainable economic development plan for the county.”