Train station bldg. slated for repairs



The historic building at theMatawan train station will be getting some TLC from NJ Transit.

CHRIS KELLY staff NJ Transit plans to do stabilizing work on the historical building at Matawan Train Station. CHRIS KELLY staff NJ Transit plans to do stabilizing work on the historical building at Matawan Train Station. “The station exterior needs immediate work, so we will be stabilizing the building,” said NJ Transit spokesman Joe Dee. “We are going to be doing work that will prevent what could be costly weather damage.”

The deteriorating two-story wooden structure will have its roof replaced to prevent any further interior damage, and the apron canopy will be removed.

“In terms of rebuilding and restoring, that is the long-term plan, but until funding becomes available, there won’t be a restoration of the building,” Dee said.

According to Dee, NJ Transit has been in contact with both the State Historic Preservation Office and the borough of Matawan about the building.

“We are very concerned and disappointed that they are removing the canopy and not replacing it,” said Councilwoman Linda Clifton, liaison to the historical commission, who was expected to discuss the renovations atMonday’s council meeting.

According to Clifton, the state ordered NJ Transit to remove the sagging apron canopy because it was a hazard.

While Clifton expressed concerns, she did note that a recent meeting between NJ Transit representatives and borough officials was productive.

“But,” Clifton said, “we are concerned that the buildingwill deteriorate to the point where it can’t be saved.”

Dee said NJ Transit has been seeking grants for the restorationwork and could accept donations from local groups such as a historic preservation commission.

Work is expected to begin as soon as March orApril.

“I believe the residents of Matawan, the BoroughCouncil and the historical commission want NJ Transit to restore this treasure,” said Bob Montfort, chairman of the Historical Commission inMatawan.

According to Montfort, the scope of the redevelopment initiatives inMatawan could include the train station building.

“Transit could refurbish it, but the redevelopment may happen before that,” Montfort said. “All we can do is pressure Transit into renovating the building.”

Dee added that whatever architectural details are removed, the canopy included, will be stored for future restoration.

The old train station building was built in 1875, and, according toGailHunton, historic preservation specialist for the Monmouth County Park System, it served as the original train station until the existing station building replaced it in the early 1980s.

TheVictorian-style train station building is one of two surviving early passenger depots; the other is in Red Bank. Both were built in the Stick Style but the building in Matawan has lost some of its ornamentation, she said.

“Matawan station is well worth restoration because it’s an early passenger depot from the New York-Long Branch Railroad that is still surviving,” Hunton said.