Pallone continues his opposition and inaction on Fort Hancock rehabilitation

By Art Gallagher

Congressman Frank Pallone is continuing his decades long opposition to the rehabilitation of Fort Hancock, the historic and formerly picturesque military base on Sandy Hook.

Pallone initially supported the National Park Service’s plan to rehabilitate the fort in in the mid-1990’s through a public-private partnership ala The Presidio in San Francisco California. He flipped his position and joined the now deceased Judith Stanley Coleman in organizing opposition to Rumson developer James Wassel’s 60 year lease and proposed $100 million investment to rehab Officer’s Row while maintaining the historic nature of structures in the late 90’s.

This week Pallone spoke against a new proposal to allow private residential development at Sandy Hook, according to a press release by his office.

“The wholesale conversion of public lands and facilities to private residential use would alter the nature of Sandy Hook and would be antithetical to the National Park Service’s founding values and mission. Sandy Hook serves as an important place for my constituents and all who visit to learn about our nation’s military history, recreate, and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings,” Pallone said. “I am deeply concerned that the National Park Service’s plan would turn a significant portion of Sandy Hook into a place that only select permanent residents can enjoy. We must ensure that these places of beauty remain fully accessible to everyone.”

Pallone and Stanley-Coleman did Wassel a favor opposing his project 20 years ago. I don’t believe a private development is commercially viable on Sandy Hook. It is too hard to get to. It is too far from necessities and amenities. The climate is inhospitable 3-4 months per year. I expressed these reservations to Wassel and Richard Wells, the Park Service’s project manager at the time, who had previously managed the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty.

But if Wassel and his investors wanted to bring the deteriorating structures up to code and risk failing, leaving the Park with safe and beautiful landmarks, that would be a public benefit.

Here we are twenty years later and Pallone is recycling his statements opposing the rehabilitation. The structures are no longer deteriorating. With few exceptions, they are dilapidated and dangerous.

Fort Hancock should either be leveled or rehabilitated with government funding. Rehabilitation would be better. Pallone is one of the most powerful members of Congress and it looks pretty likely that he will be Chairman of a the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the next two years while there is also a Democrat President.

Pallone should get the funding to rehab Fort Hancock in the next two years. Doing so could establish a legacy for his career. If he pulls that off, there should a section of the Park named for Pallone and monument installed in his honor. The current state of Fort Hancock is a monument to Congressman Pallone’s ineffectiveness to date.

Posted: November 25th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Frank Pallone, Gateway National Recreation Area, Monmouth County, Monmouth County News, Sandy Hook | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Pallone continues his opposition and inaction on Fort Hancock rehabilitation”

  1. Steve Adams said at 2:40 pm on December 1st, 2020:

    Pallone has had decades of failure and inaction on this and every other area. He has demonstrated his bad judgement enough times that people should recognize that if he has a position, the public good is served by taking the opposite position.

  2. It’s sad. said at 7:29 pm on December 1st, 2020:

    32 years of safe nothing- ness, aided and abetted by favorable re- districting,and with never- depleted $3million always in his bank , un- spent, from unions, and never, individuals. Wish he’d retire, take the damn pension, and give someone else a chance to finally, actually, bring home something positive for his district. Selfish wimp that he is, he won’t. What many voters accept as representation from some elected officials, is both stupid and depressing.

  3. Jose Freiwald said at 11:52 am on December 2nd, 2020:

    NJ’s equal of joe biden,nothing but more $$$.