Event Planners Propose Large Tent for Willows

Open Aire Affairs, which has submitted a proposal for the Willows mansion, runs events at eight locations in the region.

As Radnor Township collects proposals from companies and organizations about the future of the Willows mansion, Radnor Patch is bringing you information from some of those who are vying for the project.

Larry Ott, manager for Open Aire Affairs event planning company, said that they "have been talking to Radnor Township for years" about making the Willows mansion an Open Aire Affairs location.

The company plans events at eight locations across the region, including the Pearl S. Buck Estate in Bucks County and Smith’s Playhouse in Fairmount Park. Some locations are privately owned, other are owned by the state and some are run by nonprofits, he said.

In their proposal, Open Aire Affairs would erect a three-season tent off of the back patio of the mansion, advertise, book and manage the events taking place there. For each event sold, the township would receive a certain fee that the event planners would collect for them. All the township would have to do under their plan is "cash the checks that we bring them," Ott said.

He added that they would also leave the property available to civic groups, and that the township could get one of the packages they sell to consumers for free a few times of year for its own use.

Instead of trying to come up with capital or use taxpayer money, Ott suggests that Radnor use proceeds from the fees they would get to fund the needed upgrades inside the mansion. "Our real goal is to use the house as little as possible so no more wear and tear can take place, and as income comes in upgrade and maintain the house," he said.


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Catherine October 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Interesting...but I don't know about this one. What about the noise that an outdoor tent venue will create? Day or night, neighbors will hear it. Plus, strange to have to an event in a tent when no one can go into the beautiful building attached to it. There are enough clubs with gorgeous grounds to hold events already to put this idea low on the list, imo.
Sam Strike October 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Just a note that currently people can and have for years erected tents over the mansion patio for events, so it would not be a totally new practice. The difference is that people would not have to order their own tent and it would be there three seasons of the year.
Lauren Deets October 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
This sounds like a very interesting idea, that would still allow for use of the inside of the building. Perhaps 2 of the proposals (i.e. Kline Studios and Open Air) could be combined creating more revenue for the township.
John Kline October 11, 2012 at 05:46 PM
This idea would allow others the use of the mansion, making it a "win, win" for Radnor Township. Kline Studios would welcome Open Aire as well as others within the building. It's certainly large enough. The more using the space, the more revenue it will produce, while keeping the beauty intact and the Willows alive.
Dana October 12, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Larry Ott is an amazing person to work with and the Willows would be in great hands!! Open Aire has my vote all the way!!


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