Plans are in the works for the city of Wixom to lease the Gibson House, a historic landmark, to an entrepreneur who plans to turn it into a venue for weddings and similar events.
The farmhouse is located on the south side of Pontiac Trail, west of Old Wixom Road.
Kim Russo, owner of The Gathering Place Milford Banquet Center, and who also leases St. Mary’s Old Stone Church in Milford for similar functions, bridged a deal with the city where she would make renovations to the home’s interior and grounds.
“She is gearing it toward a garden wedding venue,” said Assistant City Manager Tony Nowicki. “She has identified a need for special events in unique settings.”
Russo also plans to set up an inside tea room for small events and may make accommodations for a bakery down the line.
In turn, the city plans to lease the building free of charge.
“She will be making tangible improvements that will add to the asset,” Nowicki said.
Apart from interior renovations, Russo plans to install a paved driveway and parking lot. Russo would be responsible for paying utility costs which would result in a cost avoidance for the city of $5,000 (annually), Nowicki said.
“It’s a unique way of doing things,” he said. “It’s a fair deal for both parties.”
The Gibson House is a two-story Italianate style farmhouse built by Matthew Gibson after he came to the United States from Ireland in 1830. He purchased the 168-acre parcel in Wixom at a public auction in 1861.
The property was sold off in sections beginning in the 1950s. The city purchased what was left — a 3.31-acre parcel — in 1995 from the trusts of Mildred and Harold Gibson, grandchildren of the original owner.
The city preserved the Italianate villa style and restored the interior to its late 19th century appearance in order to maintain the structure’s agricultural history and integrity.
“We’ve re-roofed the house, put on a new deck and had the house remodeled since we purchased it,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Deanna Magee.
In addition, the city recarpeted, updated the kitchen and put in a gravel parking lot and circular driveway. A soccer field was also built in the rear of the property.