It's a chance to look behind the "golden gates."

That's the opportunity Violet Township development director Holly Mattei says the the July 27 open house at the Wigwam, 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road NW, will offer township residents.

Although the 63-acre retreat with 26 buildings has been open to the public in various forms since February, the township has not held a formal event for people to see the facility that was purchased for $2.7 million in July 2018.

That will change from noon to 5 p.m. July 27.

The Wigwam was formerly owned by longtime Columbus Dispatch publisher John F. Wolfe and his family. The property that served as retreat and hunting lodge for the family features Native American-themed decor and has a rich history of celebrity visitors.

On May 17, the Wigwam became the headquarters for Violet Township's administrative offices.

Mattei said the open house will include historical videos and tours.

"We feel it's important to showcase this asset to the community," Mattei said. "We feel our community always wondered what's behind the 'golden gates,' and this is an opportunity to show them what is there and that now it's part of the township."

The Wigwam houses 11 Violet Township employees. It has a 400-seat banquet hall that's available for community events and rental, as well as a 303-seat theater, know as the Wigwam Theatre, that's being used by the Pickerington Community Theatre for performances.

"Long term, we'd like to look at a possible park through a partnership with the Fairfield County Parks District (on the Wigwam site)," Mattei said.

Additional long-term plans for the property include the possible relocation of a Fairfield County Sheriff's Office substation from 4 E. Columbus St. in Olde Pickerington Village. The township also hopes to develop 10 acres on the north side of the property for commercial use, while preserving 26 acres of woods along state Route 204.

"We do have the intent to look at the 10 acres for private economic development," Mattei said.

"We are definitely targeting a hotel, upscale restaurants and professional offices."

As for the open house, guests are asked to enter through the "golden gates" off Blacklick-Eastern Road/state Route 204.

"There will be staff or Community Watch individuals to help guide parking," Mattei said. "(Guests) will exit onto Taylor Road."

During the open house, there will be screenings of the movie "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" at 12:15 and 2:30 p.m.

Additionally, township officials and staff members will lead free tours of the facility, and the Violet Township fire and road departments will have large equipment on hand for "touch-a-truck" activities.

The Fairfield County Sheriff's Office will set up SWAT displays and provide information about safety services.

Additional open house details and information are available on the Violet Township website, violet.oh.us, or by calling the Violet Township administrative offices at 614-575-5556.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate