COLUMBIA, Ill. – Sugar Spring Ranch, a wedding venue in Columbia, Illinois, went up in flames at the end of May.
While rebuilding is underway, venue owners Melinda and Greg Meyer are now able to host wedding ceremonies at their venue.
The Monroe County Zoning Board of Appeals gave approval for Sugar Spring Ranch to host wedding ceremonies at its outdoor pavilion for six months, without outdoor music.
The board approved the owner’s request Wednesday night, but it came with opposition from some people who live nearby.
“I want to be back up and running, I want to see those weddings,” said Melinda Meyer.
She said the outdoor pavilion had only been used for two weddings before the fire.
It was approved at the end of last week to clean up the area where the barn burnt, and that is how they spent the Fourth of July weekend.
Melinda said since the barn has burnt down, it’s been an “emotional roller coaster, you’re mad, you’re sad, you get angry, all of the emotions, but you just come back stronger.”
The Meyers’ request to use the outdoor pavilion for ceremonies received pushback from some people at the meeting.
“I understand about the brides, but you have neighbors to think about too,” said one woman who lives nearby during the meeting.
However, with the approval, Melinda and Greg said they are looking forward to seeing the pavilion with happy couples.
“They’re celebrating and they are just having a fun time and it’s just really a boost and that’s what motivates us to get back, we had that little taste, we were only open for a month,” Greg said.
“Just seeing the joy on people’s faces and how happy they are on that day, I would do it every day of my life,” Melinda said.
They hope to have the barn ready to go for wedding receptions in the fall and they are building the same building with some improvements.
“It was just a ton and ton of work, that’s the most disappointing part, knowing how much work it was and knowing you have to do it again,” Greg said.
“Just dust stuff off, you get back up and you put your best foot forward and the support of the community has been so overwhelming.”