The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is entering into a completely new and exciting phase of its existence. The gardens have been in a transitory phase – two of the three greenhouses have been closed to the public since April of 2015. The renovation project, completed by Erie County, go a long way towards ensuring that The Botanical Gardens will enjoy many exciting years to come.
The $3.5 million investment included the following renovations:
- Repair and repointing of the exterior and interior masonry and brick
- Steel and wood refurbishment and replacement
- Glazing work and glass replacement
- Heating system repair and replacement
- Temperature and humidity sensor updates
- Electrical updates
- Misting/fogging system repair and replacement
- Emergency system updates; new lighting installation
- Painting of the interior and exterior and complete finishing work
“Erie County is blessed to have the Botanical Gardens and the investment we have made in them will help this institution grow far into the future. Houses 2 and 3 now look better than they ever have and will provide an outstanding Gardens experience for future generations as well as for visitors today,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “These buildings, along with the collections they house, are a unique and irreplaceable asset for all of Erie County and will be here long after we are gone. I thank Gardens President Swarts and his dedicated staff of employees and volunteers for their vision and hard work in guiding this process forward.”
The work was no easy feat. A 500-year old Prickly Cycad needed to be moved – something that you would not want to try at home. A major structural flaw in the 116-year old House 2 needed to be corrected, as the west side of the structure had a shifted a few inches, causing damage to the structural framing.
Today the Gardens’ iconic dome is ship-shape, and House 3 is no longer in jeopardy of glass panes falling out. Essentially, it’s a new day at The Gardens, and the public will be amazed at the transformations that they will encounter.
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens President and CEO David Swarts said, “The Botanical Gardens Society is grateful to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Erie County Legislature for investing in restoring one of our community’s most impressive historic and architectural treasures. Their action ensures the Botanical Gardens will remain an important part of our cultural landscape for decades to come.”
Now that the repairs are complete, The Society is starting work on the exhibits.
The Aquatic Garden will include a new water feature, refurbished koi pond, a new bridge over the koi pond and many plants native to Asia.
The Asian Rainforest will feature a decorative tea house, a redesigned waterfall, orchids, bamboo, a bonsai collection and more.
The Society has raised $205,000 of the $275,000 needed to complete these exhibits, and is actively campaigning to secure the additional funding goal is reached.
At this stage, these vast improvements are only a part of what’s to come. The County Executive has allocated $20K towards funding a feasibility study for a Master Plan. The Master Plan will see the expansion of exhibit space, which will also help with increased educational programs and facility rentals.
The new exhibits are scheduled to open in January 2017.
Lead image: Exhibit Rendering