ft hancock 4 070113The first of four  public meetings on the preservation and repurposing of Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, including the bayside Officers’ Row, above, will be held Friday in Lincroft.

ft hancock 1 070113For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.

This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.

The meeting, in the Beech Room at the Thompson Park headquarters of the Monmouth County Parks System, will include citizens with expertise in many fields, with members advising Gateway on the best ways to preserve historic structures at the former Fort Hancock through adaptive reuse. Prominent among those structures are several houses situated along the bayside Officers’ Row, with the committee having solicited ideas from private individuals and nonprofit entities toward their rescue, renovation and repurposing.

More information about the past and future of the historic Fort Hancock area can be found here. Subsequent meetings will take place September 11 and October 23, both at Thompson Park’s Beech Room, and December 4 at the Sandy Hook Chapel.