SANDY HOOK, NJ - Gateway National Recreation Area has selected the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children for negotiation of a proposed lease for one of the historic structures at Fort Hancock located within Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit in Highlands, N.J. A Letter of Intent is required to begin formal negotiations of the lease terms. Dennis Reidenbach, Director for the NPS Northeast Region, signed the Letter of Intent December 19.

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“Fort Hancock offers stunning views in a tranquil, restorative location,” remarked Gateway Superintendent Linda Canzanelli. When Gateway was created in 1972, Congress specifically charged the park with preserving historic structures at Sandy Hook. “When a non-profit organization like ARFC can help us repair and restore these buildings and use them for the public good, everybody benefits,” added Canzanelli.

ARFC approached the park in 2011 expressing an interest in rehabilitating a building at Fort Hancock. ARFC previously maintained a building on Officers Row for two decades. After touring several buildings, ARFC focused on Officers Row Building #2 as the best location for day trips and occasional overnight accommodations by families of children with AIDS. The main floor would also be used for meetings and conferences.

If both parties agree to terms during the feasibility period, ARFC will restore the building based on National Park Service historic restoration guidelines. ARFC has past experience rehabilitating housing in Newark, Irvington and Orange, N.J.  Their programs and services strive to maintain the integrity of families of children with AIDS. A location at Fort Hancock would allow such families to enjoy the serenity of Fort Hancock as well as access to Sandy Hook’s beaches.

The Letter of Intent establishes the obligations of the parties during the lease negotiation period. Terms identified during the feasibility period include the fair market value of the building to be used for calculating rent. The lessee must be able to meet financial obligations arising from proposed capital improvements to meet the fair market value rental payments as required under 36 CFR Part 18.

The Letter of Intent will expire 90 days from the date of the latest signature unless extended by written agreement of NPS and ARFC.

Officers Row Building #2 was built based on the Quartermaster General’s Office Plan #110 circa 1896 for Fort Hancock. It is one of 110 significant historic buildings within the former Army fort, which protected New York Harbor from enemy warships and warplanes from the time of the Spanish-American War through the nuclear age.  Upon its deactivation in 1974, most of the Sandy Hook peninsula became part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Visitors are welcome to tour Sandy Hook's beaches, trails and military history sites.