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Statement of Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) on the General Management Plan for Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock

August 8, 2012
Press Release

SANDY HOOK, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement at a National Park Service meeting regarding the alternative plans for the future of Sandy Hook, in particular Fort Hancock. Congressman Pallone expressed his opposition to commercial development of Fort Hancock and advocated for a plan that would engage the local community and protect the natural and historic environment:

“I would like to thank the National Park Service for hosting this meeting on the General Management Plan (GMP) for Gateway National Recreational Area.

“In November of 2010 during the National Park Service’s open houses on the GMP for Gateway National Recreation Area I presented my comments.  At that time, I laid out my concerns with the status of Sandy Hook and in particular Fort Hancock.  I made clear that I believed the National Park Service needed to incorporate community input throughout the process of developing the GMP.  I also expressed my belief that Fort Hancock must be dealt with in an expeditious manner while avoiding any type of commercial development.

“Today, the National Park Service is presenting four draft management alternatives for the future of Sandy Hook.   I am concerned with Alternative B which includes suggested uses for Fort Hancock such as lodging, restaurants, conference space and offices.  This alternative resembles the failed attempt at large commercial development plans that were pursued by Sandy Hook Partners.  The National Park Service should instead pursue other alternatives which would focus on preserving the integrity of Fort Hancock’s status as a National Historic Landmark.  I am encouraged by suggested uses in other management alternatives such as educational services, historic preservation and maritime-related interpretation.

“As I have repeatedly made clear to the National Park Service, I believe that the future of Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook must be determined in close cooperation with the local community.  Further, Fort Hancock cannot continue to wait for a comprehensive development plan, but instead the National Park Service should prioritize the rehabilitation of the buildings one-by-one to save these valuable historic buildings before the damage is irreparable.  The National Park Service should begin this by attracting local non-profits, universities and other community organizations that conform to the natural and historic environment that makes Fort Hancock a special place.

“Again, I want to thank the National Park Service for holding today’s meeting so the public can provide valuable input for the future of Sandy Hook and all it has to offer.  I look forward to seeing how community input shapes the next steps in the formation of the final GMP.  I remain committed to working with the community and National Park Service to ensure that our national treasures such as Fort Hancock are protected for future generations.”

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Contact:
Ray Zaccaro/Allison Bormel
202-225-4671
 

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