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A decade-long effort to derail a redevelopment plan that would transform Sandy Hook‘s Fort Hancock into a convention facility notched its biggest victory to date yesterday.

The National Park Service, which oversees the history-rich property, yesterday canceled a lease agreement with Sandy Hook Partners, finding after a review that the firm, headed by Rumson developer James Wassel, didn’t have the financial wherewithal to make the project happen.

Opponents of the redevelopment plan hailed the decision as a victory of public interests over private ones, but lamented that it was overdue. The Wassel group was repeatedly given extensions over the past eight years to secure sufficient financing, and the issue has been heavily litigated.

“Hallelujah. What took so long?” asked Peter O’Such of Fair Haven, as quoted by the Star-Ledger. O’Such is a member of Save Sandy Hook, which sued Wassel’s agency and the National Park Service over the contract.

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