NEW FRANKLIN  The New Franklin Parks & Recreation Board, The Tudor House Committee (THAC) and New Franklin City Council agree that a pavilion on the Tudor House grounds would be an asset to the community and generate revenue to maintain the Tudor House.

City Council took the first step in trying to secure funds to build a three-sided pavilion by giving approval to apply for one grant, and was given information about a second grant already applied for to cover a portion of the pavilion's $220,000 estimated cost.

The city with apply 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 recently applied for a federal Community Development Block Grant, for $60,000, which can also be used for projects to enhance a community.  

New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas said the city will not learn if it has received the grants until April. If the ODNR and CDBG grants are awarded, Bollas said since the Tudor House will receive a portion of the 2 percent city income tax starting in 2017, it will have funds to help toward the match.

In January of 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.

The grounds and home facing Portage Lakes are rented out for weddings and other community events. Its popularity has grown for weddings, business meetings and non-profit organizations. Last year, THAC members explained that this has caused a problem with wear and tear on the grounds as a result of large tents rented for weddings. The pavilion could help alleviate the wear and tear. Guests at the events are not using the outdoor portable restrooms and lining up in the Tudor House to use the indoor facilities. The option for restrooms in the proposed pavilion would ease that.

The proposal has been reintroduced by the Bollas and the two boards. The original plan was to construct a 40 foot by 90 foot pavilion with a tudor facade and pitched ceiling. It would be open on the north and east sides with drop curtains and have a closed wall facing south. It would have full restroom facilities. Bids for the project were sought and six were received. Bids ranged from $152,000 to $270,000, not including a septic system needed for the restrooms. It is estimated a septic system would cost another $30,000 to $40,000.

In a joint meeting of THAC in October, Bollas and the park board agreed that additional revenue is needed to keep the Tudor House maintained and help grow its services. Bollas, THAC members and Tudor House Administrator Cherie Lopuchovsky agree that if a pavilion were on the grounds it would attract more rentals and the Tudor House can charge a high rental fee.