Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

March 8, 2013

Oakwood Inn to open this summer

SYRACUSE — For four long years, the Oakwood Inn has languished in limbo, cold, dark and empty, its fate in the hands of courts and lawyers and would-be developers.

In fact the future of all the amenities and buildings of Oakwood Park, a haven of rest and renewal on Lake Wawasee for people of faith for most of the past century, were also mired in uncertainty.

No longer.

Since last October, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters and carpet layers have been working feverishly to bring the inn and other buildings in the park back to life, and the good news for lake residents is that the inn and its restaurant will be open for business by this summer.

Late last year, Buckingham Properties of Indianapolis backed out of a tentative deal to purchase the property.

It was then that Dr. Rex Parent and his family, a fixture on Lake Wawasee for three generations, stepped up to buy the park and its signature inn. After reaching agreement with court-appointed receiver Ian Rolland and Oakwood property owners, Parent Associates, Inc. closed on the deal to buy Oakwood Park.

J.R. Parent, Dr. Parent’s son, has taken the lead in directing the refurbishing of the Oakwood Inn and Jeremiah Heierman has been hired as manager of Oakwood Resort and is in charge of the day-to-day details of getting the inn ready to open.

He said the plan is for a “soft,” or gradual re-opening of the hotel. On the weekend of May 18, an open house is scheduled for all the contractors and sub-contractors who have worked on the building since the project started in late October.

Then on Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 24 and 25, members of the Wawasee Property Owners Association will be invited to an open house to view the refurbished hotel.

“We realize this is a very aggressive time frame,” Heierman said, “But we will do our very best to open by Memorial Day. We don’t want to let people down.”

When completed, the inn will have 77 guest rooms, 10 of them suites. Heierman said the Oakwood would begin accepting reservations in late February or early March.

All the rooms are getting complete overhauls including new ceilings, paint and carpet. There will be wireless internet throughout the hotel and flat screen television sets in every room.

“It will look and feel like any other high-end hotel people have stayed in,” Heierman said.

The public areas of the hotel like the central rotunda, hallways and other common areas will “have an old-time, lakey feel to them,” he said, including personal photos of life on the lake from all time periods. Lake residents who would like to submit framed family photos from all generations for use in the inn’s décor are asked to contact Helena Rensberger at Helena@oakwoodresort.com or send them to 702 E. Lake View Road, Syracuse, IN  46567.

The inn will also have a high-end restaurant and bar open to the public. Heierman said an announcement about who will run the restaurant will be made as soon as all the details of an agreement are finalized. Instead of buffet style dining, the new restaurant will have plated meals, he said, and there will also be outdoor dining on a patio just outside the restaurant.

Although the project has been approved by the DNR for 120 pier spaces, Heierman said the hotel will not use that many initially and will leave the front shoreline facing the main part of the lake open. Piers will be placed behind the hotel, facing Conklin Bay for use by hotel guests and patrons of the restaurant.

And it’s not just the hotel that is undergoing renovation. The Oakwood property includes 10 vacation homes and eight cabins available for rent, and all 10 homes are being remodeled. Also open this summer will be the Hilltop Banquet Center, the old Wawasee Academy building, with seating for up to 500 people.

One of the vacation homes and Kimmell Hall will not be open, along with the program center, until 2014.

Heierman also said activities associated with the Oakwood for years will still take place and possibly expand under the new ownership. Boat-in worship will be a fixture on the lake in front of the hotel again every Sunday this summer, beginning on May 26.

In addition, a wooden boat show has already been booked, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will play this summer.

The Oakwood will also be the venue for much of the greatly expanded local Chautauqua program, possibly including a week-long program as part of the national Chautauqua tour.

Many on the lake are delighted the Oakwood is coming back to life, and Heierman said the feeling is mutual.

“The support of the local community has been phenomenal,” he said. “That’s the reason we’ve been able to be as aggressive as we have been.”

Although Heierman couldn’t say exactly how many employees the park and inn will require when everything is up and running, he expects it to be a force in the local economy. Much of the remodeling work is being done by local contractors, he said, and added, “it is important to the Parent family to employ local residents.”

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140719 obit mcdaniel Jeanine M. McDaniel OSCEOLA — Jeanine M. McDaniel, 61, died Thursday afternoon at Elkhart Hospice House. She was born Feb. 16, 1953 in Noble County, to Everett and Nyra Lucille (Reynolds) McDaniel. Surviving are two sisters, Patty (William) Wray, Paducah, Ky. and Bever

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results