NEW FRANKLIN When the Tudor House Advisory Committee (THAC) recently met for its August meeting, it agreed to increase advertising to attract more event rentals and walked the grounds to determine the most favorable place for a proposed three-sided pavilion.
THAC heard from neighbors of the Tudor House, to the south, who suggested the proposed pavilion be placed north of the home. Jean and Vince Mc Cormish addressed the committee and suggested placing the proposed 40-foot by 90-foot pavilion on the north side of the house where it fits in aesthetically better. The board said it would consider that request.
In January 2015, THAC sought bids for a three-sided, Tudor-style pavilion with plumbing and restrooms. THAC and city council originally considered taking a loan to cover the project, but never moved for approval. THAC member Paul Adamson said New Franklin City Park Board has recommended taking a loan to cover the estimated cost of $180,000 to $220,000. A bid has not been sought since the initial bid in January 2015.
The Tudor House is considered a park and therefore is funded by the park department budget. Rentals of the home and grounds are the primary income, and THAC is working to add the pavilion and a proposed 12 foot by 20 foot gazebo to further enhance the grounds and attract more rentals.
Mayor Al Bollas said he would seek more bids for a gazebo that THAC agreed should be traditional and placed near the lake frontage for ceremonies. It would replace an older type archway used for that purpose. THAC has received an anonymous donation of $5,000 donation towards the cost of the gazebo, which is estimated at $10,000.
Adamson noted that rentals for 2018 are down.
"We should assess the rental numbers, before we proceed on any further action for the pavilion," he said.
After the meeting, Tudor House Administrator Cheri Lopuchovsky said that calls for bookings for 2018 are coming in later than in past years. When she took the position four years ago, she said bookings were steady and have increased each year.
"When people call to inquire, they have already looked at out website and know the type of wedding they want," she said. "It ( Tudor House) is a gem."
Bookings were strong in 2016 with 87 events. In 2017, the Tudor House had bookings nearly every weekend, she said.
"We have had cancellations, but they are not going to another venue, they have had to cancel the wedding or event, " she added.
Lopuchovsky said she is confident bookings will increase for 2018 and agreed with Bollas that more advertising will be beneficial.
"We get bookings from Cleveland and the surrounding area, but many people in Akron and local towns don’t know the Tudor House is here," she added.
She agreed the addition of a gazebo and pavilion will only enhance the home and grounds.
The city has applied for an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant for $50,000. The ODNR offers financial assistance for communities for public recreation purposes through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Program. The city also applied for a federal Community Development Block Grant, for $60,000, which can also be used for projects to enhance a community. If received, the grant money would be used toward the estimated cost of the pavilion. Bollas said he will not learn if they have received the grants until April 2018. If the ODNR and CDBG grants are awarded, the city will have to pay a match toward the grants.