POINT PLEASANT BEACH — It’s official: as of Aug. 25, U.S. Coast Guard – Station Squan building is owned by the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach.
Following years of uncertainty surrounding the destiny of the decommissioned Coast Guard site, Point Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra, along with U.S. Representative Chris Smith, announced that the deed and keys were at last transferred from the Coast Guard to the borough. Mayor Kanitra said that forging a deal with the Coast Guard was one of the first key moments of the transaction’s history.
“The first and most important step was ensuring that the Coast Guard would do a direct sale to [the borough], because there was the possibility that this could’ve first gone to numerous different organizations,” he said.
According to a press release from Rep. Smith, the purchase of the station by the borough denotes a turning point in preserving the community’s historic character.
“So many great people in the Coast Guard served here—and above all, saved lives,” said Rep. Smith. “It is only fitting that this iconic station—which is greatly admired by local residents and tourists alike—is now entrusted to the Borough so it can be preserved to enrich the community for generations to come.”
Rep. Smith represents New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District in the House. Mayor Kanitra told The Ocean Star that the congressman’s help was integral in facilitating the process transferring the Coast Guard station to the borough’s hands.
“From the time that my administration came into office and identified the Coast Guard station as a priority, Congressman Smith and his office have helped us navigate the maddening federal bureaucracy every step of the way,” Mayor Kanitra said of the representative’s role. “For instance, there were multiple components of this; first of all, he tried to help us get the Coast Guard station for one dollar—for free—but the Coast Guard is operating under new directives that state that they need to be sold for fair market value to fund other housing needs.”
The release from Rep. Smith’s office also mentioned that he was integral to the process of getting the station listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, which in turn made the handover process much smoother.
“Smith said adding the original station to the National Register of Historic Places was key to transferring the property to the Borough. After Smith and Kanitra strongly advocated for its listing, the Coast Guard initiated the historic registration process, which was approved on May 14, 2021,” said the press release.
The ordinance authorizing the purchase was unanimously approved by the borough council at its meeting on Tuesday, July 18. It stated that the acquisition of the site is necessary because “the Borough is in need of the property to provide for additional space to provide municipal services.”
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