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Botanical Garden Update

by   TERRY KRAMER

 

THE HUMBOLDT BOTANICAL GARDEN Foundation's efforts to break ground on a world-class 45-acre botanical garden in Humboldt County will be realized when digging begins in July 2000 thanks in part to a $1 million in-kind donation made to the foundation last March, according to Executive Director for Garden Development Karen Angel.

According to Angel, a local business, which wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, will donate in-kind services for site preparation.

"They are doing all the work for free, so we don't have to pay them anything. They will put in the access road, the parking lot and all the contouring on the site," she said.

The foundation's goal, said Angel, is to break ground by July 2000, if at least $2 million of the total $5 million needed to complete Phase I of the project is secured or pledged. The remaining $3 million is expected to come from grants and individual donations.

[photo of garden location][photo of Maria Krenek]

 

"We are actively working on a number of different things," Angel said. One source of additional funding may come from State Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Wesley Chesbro. This is a state bond act that will give HBGF the opportunity to compete for state grants for the garden.

"I think we have a good shot at that," Angel said.

[photo of seismic trench]Since HBGF's beginnings in 1992, the group boasts a membership of more than 1,000 people, businesses and organizations and a volunteer core of 200. According to HBGF President Maria Krenek, the foundation has raised approximately $250,000 for the establishment of the garden, which will be located adjacent to College of the Redwoods.

Progress to date on the garden includes the land lease with College of the Redwoods, completion of the garden's Master Plan and seismic trenching. Visitors to the site today will note three substantial billboards outlining the garden's Master Plan and a large display bed of 1,000 daffodil bulbs from all over the country. Krenek believes that if the ground is broken in 2000, the garden will be open to the public the fall of 2002.

"It will take about 18 months once we break ground," she said. Phase I is development of 12 acres, which includes an entry pavilion building, parking lot, access road from Tompkins Hill Road, monument sign on Highway 101, entry signs and entry drive, fences and gates, numerous display gardens and allees (corridors of trees), a propagation garden and a 10-foot gravel corridor path through the site to the Canopy Tower with corridor plantings and a switchback trail from the eastern end of the corridor path to the highest lookout point.

Once the garden is up and running, HBGF believes it will have a significant positive economic impact in Humboldt County. According to its figures, the garden will bring in $747,415 by year 2005, with new dollars generated by tourism of $10,463,810. A total of 210 new indirect jobs are projected as a result of associated tourism in 2005.

Through the years, Krenek's hope and enthusiasm for the garden have never wavered.

"This garden is possible. The skeptics were saying it's too big for Humboldt County and that it (the garden) is not possible. They told us we would never get this far. This is going to be a world-class garden. It's no small thing," she said.


PHOTOS by Marilyn Rothé:

Completed to date are the garden's Master Plan, three billboards outlining the Master Plan, and seismic trenching.
"It will take about 18 months once we break ground.," says HBGF president Maria Krenek (pictured above)


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