By DON STINE
The old Wardell-Welsh dairy house, at 703 Old Corlies Ave. in Neptune, (pictured above) will be saved and refurbished under initial plans presented by the Township Committee.
Committeeman Randy Bishop said he has always been a strong advocate of saving the house, if possible, and that tearing it down would be “a mistake.”
“It is part of the fabric of the area and residents are anxious to try and save it,” he said.
He said that it is best for the township’s history to save the building and seek grant money to refurbish it. He added that the house is an important part of the landscape and streetscape in the area.
Committee members Michael Brantley, Kevin McMillan and Mary Beth Jahn agreed with Bishop, saying they too think the old house should be saved.
“It’s a work in progress and we should move forward with the park and work on the building seeking grants as we go. We can parallel track both of these projects and I feel it’s important to keep the building,” Jahn said.
Mayor Eric Houghtaling said he wants to see areas around the house cleaned up as well, especially regarding the removal of asphalt.
“It’s clearly a mess,” he said.
Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta said site remediation to remove oil tanks and clean up any other environmental concerns will take place prior to any demolition on the property.
Old loading bays and a concrete storage area attached to the rear of the house are scheduled to be demolished.
Neptune purchased the 6.46-acre Welsh dairy tract a few years ago with the intent of making it a passive, open-space park with a veteran’s memorial as well. It is zoned for light-industrial use.
The tract was originally the Wardell dairy- the oldest-operating dairy in Monmouth County- until it closed after merging with Welsh Farms in 1975. It is the largest undeveloped tract on Old Corlies Avenue and has been vacant for a number of years.
Albert Wardell and his brother Joseph, founded their dairy on the site in 1900 while previously living on their family farm at what is now Route 66, where the Asbury Park Press and Chelsea Outlet Mall now stand. Reportedly the deal was sealed for $100 and a handshake.
The property was never a farm, always a dairy.
The present house, which replaced an older house, was built between May, 1910 and January, 1913 and is about 100 years old.
With the family-operated business and the many hands and deliverymen, the Wardell dairy was also a place of much social activity, including quilting and reading groups.