By DON STINE
Several multipurpose athletic fields will be created on the old Welsh dairy farm tract in Neptune using a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Space grant, if approved by the county.
A public meeting on submitting the grant application was held recently where Township Engineer Leanne Hoffman said several different ideas and different sites were considered for the application.
She said a survey among high school students, asking them what kind of recreational facility they would like to see, showed that many liked the concept of intergenerational play on smaller fields.
“They also wanted a place that is not solely for one sport and these are courts that are smaller and more manageable than larger fields,” Hoffman said.
She said they are “mini-versions of soccer and football fields” that can be striped to create different kinds of courts. The application also plans for six bocce courts, horseshoe pits, and landscaping. The fields will be synthetic turf.
The total project would cost about $606,000, with the grant money, if awarded, offsetting costs. The total cost also includes money to raze a more than 100-year-old house on the site at 703 Old Corlies Ave.
Committeeman Robert Lane said he would like to see a gazebo area and places near the courts to eat.
Hoffman said if the grant is approved, the township can consider the other amenities it wants at the site.
The application is due this month and the township will not know until January if its application was successful. The grant money would then be received in June of next year.
The 6.46-acre 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 years. The property was never a farm, always a dairy. The township’s Veteran’s Memorial Park is now on a portion of the site.
The present house was built between May, 1910 and January, 1913.