After the years planning, fundraising and disputes, managers at Marie Selby Botanical Garden Thursday marked the official opening of the foundation for the first phase of a major overhaul of the nonprofit organization at its campus in downtown Sarasota.
Flanked by elected officials, board members, sponsors and employees, Selby President and CEO Jennifer Rominecki called the event “an exciting moment in Selby Gardens history” and called the home renovation “a unique event in life.” the opportunity to realize the full potential of the gardens ”.
Upon completion, the $ 92 million new campus will include solar-powered parking, a welcome center, restaurant, research library, laboratory, greenhouse complex and more.
Solar panels are expected to generate more electricity than the property will use, making the gardens a “clean positive” facility. The new gardens will also include an improved storm water drainage system, and new designs will help protect Selby plant collections from hurricanes and rising sea levels. John Byrd, architect with Overland partners, said that when completed, the property will be an example of “truly sustainable design.”
Construction of the first stage, which will include Construction of the parking lot, plant research center, restaurant and gift shop, as well as landscaping works on nearby roads will begin later this year. The cost of the first phase is estimated at $ 42.5 million. As of Thursday the organization raised $ 40.1 million towards this goal.
“It’s not over yet,” he said. Joel Morganroth is a member of the organization’s board of trustees and a visionary sponsor of the project. “This is really the beginning of what it takes.”
To mark this event, supporters of Rominetsky and Selby buried themselves in the ground. opposite the tall Selby Pine, the tallest of its kind in Florida. It was a symbolic choice. “The whole project was designed around this tree,” Rominecki said.
She told Selby staff and supporters, “You did it.”