Free Spring Fling set for April 10 at Canal Winchester’s Westchester Golf Course
The new owners of the Westchester Golf Course want to help connect residents with Canal Winchester organizations while celebrating the reopening of their restaurant, Olive Branch Coffee & Pizzeria, which was relocated to the clubhouse.
The CW CommUNITY Connect Spring Fling is 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 10 at 6300 Bent Grass Blvd. in Canal Winchester. It will feature live entertainment, bounce houses, cornhole and kids’ games. Members of the Canal Winchester High School golf team will be on hand to teach putting skills.
Nearly 20 community organizations, including Canal Winchester Human Services, the local art guild, Rotary and Lions clubs, the Canal Winchester Historical Society and others, have committed to participate in the free event.
“We really want to celebrate Canal Winchester and all the organizations that it has to offer,” said Bethany Ferguson, one of the organizers. “We’re having the groups come in and show the community what they’re all about and we will be social distancing and following other health and safety protocols.”
One of the participating organizations is the Canal Winchester CommUNITY Closet, which Ferguson started with Cindi Lynch, the wife of Canal Winchester City Councilman Pat Lynch.
“We’re helping to support those who are looking for jobs or interviewing and getting them set up with professional clothing and accessories,” Ferguson said. “It’s basically a dress-for-success organization, and we have a room now at the school district’s administrative offices.”
The golf course’s new owners, Bryan and Tami Wallake, closed on the property in November 2020 for $1.7 million after Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks backed out of a contract to purchase the course that had been owned by developer Charlie Ruma.
Residents who live in the nearby Villages of Westchester, including the Wallakes, had protested the sale, fearing their property values would decline if the golf course were converted to a metro park.
To help make the deal work, the couple refinanced property they own on Gender Road, where their other businesses – Olive Branch Coffee & Pizzeria and Heaven Sent Children’s Academy – were located.
Over the winter, the couple closed and moved the restaurant, including the brick oven, to the golf course, where they believe it will attract more customers.
“The clubhouse really wasn’t built for a restaurant, so it was a lot of work getting it ready,” Tami Wallake said. “Moving the brick oven was a huge process. We already had a pretty loyal following, and our regular customers have been there. It’s worked out well so far.”
The Wallakes also have made improvements to the golf course, including purchasing new equipment, and are committed to preserving the greenspace and surrounding wildlife.
“This event really is a grand opening celebration and a way to celebrate the community,” Tami Wallake said. “We know it’s been a tough year with COVID-19. We just thought this would be a fun event.”