Blythewood For Rent: Community Center, Others, Open for Business

Doko Manor, one of several facilities available for events in Blythewood.

The Blythewood Community Center, under new ownership but still available for events.

BLYTHEWOOD – Even though the Blythewood Community Center and its surrounding 5 acres of land has been sold for development, it’s still available for rent for parties, reunions, receptions, whatever . . . just as it has been in the past. And at the same price – $200 per event, but with no deposit, according to Larry Sharpe, who purchased the Center and property from the Town in January.

“I hadn’t thought about renting it out,” Sharpe said of the property that was, for years, the hub of social activity in Blythewood. Sharpe purchased the property with plans to develop it for upscale shopping and business. “Then I started getting inquiries from people here in town who had rented it in the past and who were looking for a reasonably priced facility in Blythewood for their functions. Being right here on the interstate makes it a convenient place for folks who come from out of town for reunions and family gatherings. I do plan to develop the property, but until that happens, the Community Center and property are available for rent.”

While Sharpe doesn’t charge a deposit, he does ask that those renting it leave it in the same condition in which they found it. The building is air conditioned, has restrooms, a large kitchen with a pass through to the main room and was recently painted inside and out by members of several churches. The 4,000-square-foot building can accommodate up to 300 people for a dining event. Tables and chairs are included with the rental price as well as the 5 acres surrounding the building.

“It’s not fancy,” Sharpe said, “but it’s casual, comfortable and meets the needs of large groups that include children dripping ice cream cones and even pets. And the grounds are ideal for outdoor activities and games.”

The Building is located at 311 Blythewood Road, at Exit 27, off I-77, and across the road from the Food Lion and Groucho’s. For information call 206-8400.

The Farm

On the other side of town, on Highway 21 going toward Ridgeway, Sharpe offers another event facility he calls The Farm. The 130-acre property includes a 6,000-square-foot renovated barn that can accommodate approximately 300-400 people for any kind of event from blue jeans to diamonds. Outdoors, there are four ponds, a fire pit with seating, a rock garden and several fenced horse paddocks on the property.

The entire facility and grounds rents for $500 (no deposit) for a week day, $1,000 for one day on a weekend or $1,500 for a two-day weekend. The ‘day,’ Sharpe said, is the whole day. The barn includes a full kitchen, large restrooms with granite counter tops and tile floors, dressing areas for weddings, a banquet area, smaller meeting areas and a covered back porch for dining with a sweeping view of the outlying paddocks and treed skyline. Sharpe converted the barn’s wash stalls into an oyster roast facility with stainless steel tables. Dining tables and chairs are included with the rental price. A separate storage facility is included to accommodate equipment and preparation items for weddings and other large events.

Sharpe said he has plans to add more entertainment features to the property, including a sporting clay area. He said the bookings keep him hopping these days with some as far out as 2014, including a Frisbee tournament and a number of corporate meetings and church retreats. For information, call 206-8400.

Doko Manor

Back in downtown Blythewood, in the Town park, is yet another rental facility, The Doko Manor, that offers a formal setting that can accommodate up to 375 people in a 3,240-square-foot area for 12 hours on a weekend for $1,025 (for non-29016 residents) or for $770 (for 29016 residents.) This area, which overlooks a pond and patio, can also be rented for six hours for $338. Two smaller meeting rooms, measuring 27 x 29-feet each, can each accommodate up to 75 people for prices ranging from $150 for six hours on a weekday for 29016 residents to $450 for 12 hours on a weekend for non-29016 residents.

Booth Chilcutt, the Town’s new fulltime Accommodations Manager for the Manor, said the Town will try to allow Blythewood clubs and organizations free use of an 18 x 22-foot meeting room under some circumstances. An outdoor patio, called the passenger platform, is available for rent for outside picnics. Rental prices for the patio, which overlooks the pond, range from $150 for six hours on a weekday to $500 for 12 hours on a weekend day. Varying deposits are required along with a signed lease agreement.

The fully carpeted facility is equipped with automatic window shades and built in telecommunications equipment, restrooms and a warming kitchen. Chilcutt, who is both knowledgeable about the facilities and helpful to parties leasing it, is in charge of setting up the rooms to accommodate the various groups and is present at all events. Martha Jones is the Town’s fulltime Events and Conference Center Director and handles marketing for the Manor. Chilcutt, as the former Director of the Sumter County Cultural Commission, brings not only a background of experience in the cultural arts, but a long list of contacts whose events he hopes to bring to the Manor. One of those is the State Arts Commission, which is booked for next fall.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” Chilcutt said, “and we’re very excited about it.”

Chilcutt, who moved to Cobblestone from Sumter two years ago, said the Manor will have an exclusive catering contract (for events at the Manor) with the new restaurant that the Town of Blythewood plans to build in the park later this year. A catering exemption fee will be charged for events that use other catering services.

Chilcutt said the facility has already been rented for several events and that he expects the pace of leasing will pick up as the public learns about it and has occasion to use it. However, he said, he expects much of the business for the Manor to come from out of the area. For information, call 754-0501.