Letter to the editor
After reading the recent press release issued by Congressmen Pallone and Holt where they requested that a “liaison” individual be appointed by the National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, as the “go to” person for entities interested in the rehabilitation and subsequent use of historic Ft. Hancock buildings at Sandy Hook, I experienced great trepidation. The Congressmen’s letter to Dir. Jarvis was lacking in guidance, as to what knowledge, skills and abilities must be possessed by the “go to” liaison person. The “to be” selected liaison individual must be a proponent of the National Park Service’s long standing doctrine/regulation that only businesses which enhance the recreational experience of park patrons, be permitted on national park land. In addition to such approved businesses, educational, environmental and other such non-profit organizations are also permitted. The restoration of Snug Harbor on Staten Island , NY is proffered as an excellent example for the National Park Service to examine and apply to Ft. Hancock at Sandy Hook, with Snug Harbor ’s rehabilitation and reuse of a historic site that remains open for the public’s enjoyment. The last thing supporters want is for a pro-commercialization advocate to be selected.
It took over 10 years of concerted effort by concerned citizens to dissuade the National Park Service of its ill conceived, improper commercialization procurement for 36 Ft. Hancock buildings. This debacle of a procurement became public in August of 1999. It finally ended in October of 2009 when the National Park Service was finally forced to recognize and accept that Sandy Hook Partners did not possess the funds/money to accomplish the proposed 36 building project, resulting in elimination of Sandy Hook Partners and the cancellation of the project.
Despite the foregoing, the National Park Service surreptitiously “gifted” Sandy Hook Partners with 3 buildings which they have occupied since July 6, 2007 to the present. These buildings are the chapel, theater, and 26 Hudson Street . Apparently, not having proven assets/funding did not preclude the National Park Service from selecting Sandy Hook Partners as the sole source awardee. The resulting 60 year lease award was never announced to the public as is done with all Federal procurement awards. It was done so secretively that even Congressman Pallone was not aware that the 3 building, 60 year lease had been awarded to Sandy Hook Partners until members of Save Sandy Hook , LLC told him of its existence more that a year after it had been done.
Now if only we can get the National Park Service to adhere to and honor its own regulations.
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We the public, the rightful owners of all National Park Land will be watching.
Peter P. O’Such, Jr.
Fair Haven, NJ