WAGONER — Tom Jones wants to make something clear: Patio on the Hill will be more than a wedding venue — a lot more.
His vision is of taking 40 acres of land and the site of a barn at what was known as old Doc Wright's Place, 1667 E. 100th St. North (or Gray Oaks Road) in Wagoner County between Wagoner and Okay, and turning it into a state-of-the art multipurpose venue that will be a location for parties, proms, festivals, entertainment — and weddings.
"We don't want to be classified as a wedding venue specifically, because we're going to do everything out here," Jones said. "Why are we doing this? My wife (Kris) and I like to entertain and we've got a big family. They're always telling us we need to be party planners.
"My job meant moving back down to Dallas and I didn't want to move. At the time, I had a couple of nieces who were getting married and they were looking for venues to see what they were offering. I thought we could do something different from what the other people were doing, something we could utilize every weekend."
With contractor Gary McElmurry and his MMC Construction crew helping out, Jones went to work on the property. They cleared out the land and started building at the area. Renovations included turning the old barn into a place for dancing and other entertainment with a patio and deck. The land will have three sites for weddings. Parking lots will be installed, and the location will be compliant with the American With Disabilities Act, or handicap accessible.
The total project cost an estimated $750,000, but being done for $600,000, McElmurry said.
"We literally threw our plans away and redid our own," he said. "That's what so awesome about it as we look back at the grandeur of the place that everybody told us to tear down."
McElmurry and Jones did their research before turning the first dirt on the property.
"We looked at every venue in the state, and we're not saying they weren't good or nice, but we wanted to see what they lacked and what we could do better," McElmurry said. "Everybody lacked versatility. This community and area needs more than a wedding venue."
Finding the right location for the multipurpose venue wasn't as hard as one might think.
"We were living in Fort Gibson at the time. We looked around there, and then we started looking in Wagoner County," Jones said. "We drove by here in January at 5 p.m. when the sun was going down. I got out of my car did a 360 (degree turn) and I could see the whole horizon. We found this beautiful property."
Work's ongoing at the property. Enough of it was done that an open house was held for four hours on Saturday. Work continues and includes more construction and obtaining a liquor license. Jones said the plan is to open the venue in early October.
"Most venues you look at have a gazebo or atrium for outside entertainment," he said. "We're going to have a dedicated 4,500-square foot concrete multi-deck system.
"When you drive on this property, we we want you to go 'Wow,' We want you to continue to say 'Wow' as you come inside."