Sprawled across 1,100 acres, Fort Monmouth occupies a good chunk of New Jersey, but its high-tech mission constitutes an even larger contribution to the state’s economy.
But with the Army base scheduled to close in 2011, the focus is on civilian redevelopment of the base, which lies along one of the Jersey shore’s commercial corridors and also touches scenic waterways.
The preliminary redevelopment plan will be revealed in Eatontown Tuesday, ahead of a public meeting Wednesday at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls. The fort is part of those towns and Oceanport.
‘There is an emphasis on high-technology job retention through utilization of existing buildings that are wired for high-technology, but it will include elements for housing, retail, other commercial elements as well,’ said Jack Donnelly, a policy adviser for Gov. Jon S. Corzine who has been assisting the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority.
The preliminary plan was developed during dozens of public meetings the authority has held since being formed nearly two years ago.
The fort is important to the state, as its payroll for about 5,500 workers approaches $500 million and its overall economic impact is estimated at $2.5 billion annually by the state Commerce, Economic Growth & Tourism Commission. That includes money spent locally by workers and support jobs that involve about 22,000 people.
Nearly all the workers are civilians, and it is unclear how many will want to relocate to Maryland, where work has started on Fort Monmouth’s future home at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.