Botanic Gardens facelift set to get underway

Botanic Garden

The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens’ facelift is set to get underway. The City Council is expected to vote on three proposals to put Phase One of the Botanic Garden Strategic Plan into motion at its March 28 meeting.

At a pre-council work session on March 21, Richard Zavala of the parks and recreation department presented the council with a report on the Gardens project.

“You have to set the foundation solidly and with accuracy before you can move forward,” he told the council.

The Phase 1A scope includes:

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1. Setting up a special revenue fund.

2. Moving revenues and expenses from general fund to special revenue fund.

3. Redirecting income currently flowing to support groups:

Admissions – Conservatory and Japanese Garden.

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Rentals – Japanese Garden, Garden Center, Botanic Garden areas.

Retail – Photography, Treasure Tree Gift Shop, etc. (including one-time

donation of gift shop inventory).

4. Redirect funds coming from other organizations for contract maintenance

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services and operational support:

Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Fuller Foundation

5. City assumes expenses (and corresponding revenues to fund positions) for nine city of Fort Worth staff members to replace what has been provided by the Fort Worth Garden Club (FWGC) and Garden Center Committee (GCC), eight city staffers to replace what has been handled by the Fort Worth Botanical Society (FWBS), along with several other city staffers for housekeeping, customer service, electrician related operating expenses, etc.

The three proposals on which the council is expected to vote include authorizing the special revenue fund for all operating revenues and expenses, employee assignments and contracts, and purchase aggreements and vendor contracts with the Treasure Tree Gift Shop.

Once approved, all employees will fall under the city of Fort Worth umbrella and all funding will be under the special purpose funds, Zavala said.

If approved, Phase 1A will be implemented April 29, according to the plan.

Zavala said Phase 1B includes a visitor intercept survey which will take 13 months and will conclude in March 2018. Phase II will explore the establishment of, or partnership with, a nonprofit entity for the primary focus of fundraising and membership, along with insurance.

“It truly is a jewel that underutilized in our community,” Mayor Betsy Price said of the Garden. “I’m very excited about where you’re going with it.”