The deadline to submit a proposal to Radnor Township for the Willows mansion and cottage is Friday, Oct. 5.
One person who is submitting a proposal is Jeff Miller, owner of Jeffrey Miller Catering, the exclusive wedding caterer of the Wayne Art Center that also has contracts at locations around the region including Tyler Arboretum.
"What the Willows lacks is one large space," said Miller, who said he has been catering events there for nearly 30 years. So he said their plan is to renovate the building and replace the current solarium with a larger "atrium" that could house a large event.
"The township and residents would have same exact use that they do now," Miller said, adding that the caterer would be most interested in weekend evenings. Miller said they may also partner with the Wayne Art Center, which could hold some classes, art shows, and music classes — "filling the place with art and culture during the week."
Miller said they would consider either leasing or purchasing the mansion; they would like to reserve the opportunity to use cottage, but is not sure in what capacity. He is working with Glenn and Kate Stevens, who renovated and own Lake House Inn in Bucks County.
"They’ve done exactly what we want to do here… with something in much worse shape than the Willows," Miller said. Maintaining the park and keeping it open as a park would be the township's role, he said.
Miller said they would also like to plant fruit trees, sunflowers and herbs in the area near the existing Skunk Hollow Community Garden.
"I'm hoping they don't accept a proposal from a developer for townhouses," Miller said. "It's beautiful, undisturbed parkland – I think our proposal allows for that."
Willows Proposal: 'To-The-Manor-Born' Experience