Reporting Alex Silverman
EATONTOWN, NJ (WCBS 880/AP) - New Jersey’s Fort Monmouth will close for good today and its mission that began 94 years ago will be transferred to Maryland.
The Army post’s flag will be lowered at 4:30 p.m. when “Retreat” is sounded for the last time.
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman On The Story
The property will be turned over to a 14-member force that will maintain and secure it while a government commission seeks developers for its 1,100-plus acres.
Fort Monmouth mission centered on communications ranging from carrier pigeons to sending electronic signals into space.
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005 decided to close the fort to save money. Closing costs rose from an estimated $782 million to nearly $2 billion by 2008.
Some 5,400 of the fort’s 5,570 civilian and military jobs were sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Fort Monmouth was the biggest employer in Monmouth County and the economic soul of Eatontown.
Cobblestone Diner owner Minos Rigopoulis says he’s already seen a 30 percent drop in business.
The mayor of Eatontown estimates unemployment there could go as high as 20 percent.
If you need a reason to thank Fort Monmouth, do it every time you listen to FM radio or every time an air traffic controller gets your plane down safely using radar.
Night vision is another innovation to come from the post, according to spokesperson Henry Kearny.
What do you think will happen to the area without Fort Monmouth? Sound off below!
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)