A few months ago, 13WMAZ reported that Henderson Village in Perry closed its doors. Now, two families that are no strangers to the venue business are bringing the place back to life.
"We're hiring some full time people to do nothing but the grounds and getting it back up," explains Jim Marshall.
Two years ago, he opened wedding venue Southern Bridle Farms with his business partner David Whiddon. Now, they're branching out and taking on Henderson Village, which closed a few months ago after county tax records showed the company that owned it owed thousands of dollars in back taxes.
"It's beautiful, we just hated to see it sit idle and deteriorate," says Marshall. He says they plan to keep the antebellum flare, but change the name to "The Retreat of Southern Bridle Farms."
"We're not going to operate this like a bed and breakfast or a hunting facility like it's been done in the past. It's just primarily going to be for weddings, corporate parties, Christmas parties and so forth," says Marshall.
They hope to offer it to brides and grooms for their wedding weekend. They also plan to build a reception facility that will match the decor of the current buildings on the land.
"The fountains need a little work, and the landscaping needs to be completed. It really just needs some tender loving care and it will be back to its glory," says Marshall.
They plan to fix up the olympic style pool and decorate it for rehearsal dinners. There's even rooms for the bridal party to stay leading up to the big day. The cottages and pool will only be offered to large parties for events, but the restaurant will be open for everyone.
"We're going to name that the Carriage House and it will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights once we get it revamped and restored," says Marshall.
He says, "Our vision is for it to be an upscale, beautiful like it was five, seven years ago with all the rooms and facilities being back where they need to be."
It's a different feel than their current cedar barn venue, and tackling the neglected areas of the property means some work and money, but the entrepreneurs hope their efforts will pay off in making Perry a destination spot for special events.
Marshall hopes to have the renovations completed and be open for business within a few months.