Shared from the 2018-02-01 The Coast Star eEdition

Allaire Farm plans new site, expansion

Bailey’s Corner Road site to be purchased; new facilities there would enable the farm to host visitors with special needs year-round

Picture

DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS THE COAST STAR

Judi Grobosky [left] and Terri Franklin, both of Wall, viewed renderings of Allaire Community Farms plans for expansion at the farm’s Capital Campaign event in Belmar on Jan. 27.

Picture

DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS THE COAST STAR Plans for the move and expansion of Allaire Community Farm were announced at its Capital Campaign fundraising event on Saturday.

Picture

DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS THE COAST STAR

Sean [left] and JoAnn Burney, co-founders of Allaire Community Farm, thanked supporters at their Capital Campaign fundraising event in Belmar on Saturday.

WALL TOWNSHIP — Allaire Community Farm is moving toward the acquisition of a 25-and-a-half acre property on Bailey’s Corner Road where indoor facilities would enable it to provide year-round access to the special needs persons it hosts as visitors.

The property would eventually become the new home of the community farm, according to JoAnn Burney, co-founder of the farm with her husband Sean Burney.

She said they hope to close on the property “within two to three weeks.”

Former Wall Mayor Don Corson, who has run his own farm for over 50 years, said he has been assisting the Burney’s in the purchase negotiations.

“We could be doing classes and programs all year long and riding lessons and animal therapy once we have this indoor facility, indoor barn, indoor programming room [and] state-of-the-art greenhouse that can be heated,” Mrs. Burney said.

The planned acquisition and move would facilitate the farm’s goal of becoming a year-round handicapped accessible farm, she said.

Established in 2013, the Allaire Community Farm is a 501[c][3] nonprofit, described dedicated to “animal rescue with a mission of inclusion.”

The farm works with at-risk populations and special needs individuals “to nurture with nature.”

Early renderings of the planned development were unveiled at the farm’s “Capital Campaign” fundraiser held Saturday night at the Taylor Pavilion in Belmar. They depict a “Path to Independence” that will begin at the entrance of the farm and take even wheelchair-bound visitors to the indoor riding arena, a horse barn, a greenhouse and other features.

Public officials attending the event included Assemblyman Edward [Ned] Thomson, Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas Arnone, Wall Township Mayor Timothy Farrell and Wall Deputy Mayor Kevin Orender.

Mr. Arnone referenced the School Urban Suburban Health Iniative that he helped start at the farm, which brings kids from a suburban school district and an urban school district together on the farm.

“Once you put both sides on the farm, they’re working together and you can’t even tell there’s a difference in background,” Mr. Arnone said.

Mrs. Burney said the farm is seeking to obtain a federally guaranteed loan and is also working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program, Wall Township and Monmouth County to purchase development rights.

“Purchasing the development rights means that the town and county would buy the rights to develop that property, which means it would always remain a farm, so that’s fine with us, and we would use that money for a down payment,” she said.

The land is being purchased from Bill and Diana Kayal, who have owned the farm for almost 50 years.

“It’s just a beautiful, beautiful piece of property. It’s for good people and the community, and if someone can get it and have it and enjoy it, then they should get it,” said Mr. Kayal.

“As far as I’m concerned, life has to go on, I have to move on, and if anybody should have it, these people are it.”

Mr. Kayal’s son David, who currently resides on the property, is also supportive of the sale.

“I think it’ll be a great neighbor. It’s definitely an asset to the community and a noble cause of providing somewhere for people with special needs to work and be accepted,” said Mr. Kayal.

While Mr. Kayal said it is undetermined whether or not he will reside in the carriage house after the final sale, plans provided by Allaire Community Farm display the carriage house as a private residence that would be fenced off from the rest of the farm.

Fundraising outreach to potential supporters in the business and general communities has also begun, she said.

“We raised over $50,000 on Saturday night. We still need to raise approximately $800,000 for the buildings,” Mrs. Burney said.

Further fundraising efforts include the farm’s second annual Hoedown on Saturday, July 24. Tickets will cost $75 per person.

“Our plans are to, at some point, fully move over, but that's not going to be right away,” she said, noting it will take time to construct the buildings as well as to make the facilities wheelchair-accessible.

The three most expensive pieces of the farm that the Burneys are campaigning for are the multi-purpose meeting room, with bathrooms, a barn with 20 horse stalls and the indoor riding arena.

According to documents provided by Allaire Community Farm, the amount sought is $90,000 for the meeting room, $125,000 for the horse stall barn and $250,000 for the indoor riding arena.

Other planned facilities include a polycarbonate green house, for teaching purposes, a pony-go-round barn and a manure handling facility. According to the farm, all donations are tax deductible because they are a 501[c][3] nonprofit organization.

“We currently are providing tours of the new property and renderings for anyone who might be interested in donating,” Mrs. Burney said. “We also will be setting up a capital campaign on our website so people can see the plans.”

MOTIVATED TO MOVE

“The farm has become so successful, but we’re at a standstill insofar as we can serve our population, because once it gets cold, we have no where to bring our population inside,” Mrs. Burney said.

The current barn, located at 2840 Allaire Road, is over 100 years old, she said, and “leaks like a sieve.”

“In order to grow, in order to be a year-round facility, we have to do this,” she said.

Her presentation on Saturday evening described the farm’s committment to those with special needs, from children with autism to families affected by cancer.

“I hope we tugged on a few heart strings,” she told the gathering.

Thanking donors at the event, she said, “It’s not about me and Sean, it’s really about the community and all the people that we get the opportunity to help,” she said. “I’m just so grateful.”

See this article in the e-Edition Here