FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Botanic Garden held one of its final public comment meetings Wednesday to get feedback on its plans to resign and reshape the grounds.
At the beginning of the year, it began the process of getting community input on a master plan that will change it for the next 20 years.
“We also learned that people want to be in outdoor spaces,” Fort Worth Botanic Garden CEO Patrick Newman said. He believes that trend will continue, “that people are going to want to be in outdoor cultural institutions. And so that was a big part of the plan as well."
The master plan includes changing the entrance: Instead of walking through the Moncrief Building, renderings show extending the Pollinator Pathway right into the garden, which will also allow for more foot traffic.
The garden is one of the city’s top attractions, with nearly 250,000 people visiting in 2021.
Plans also include creating a two-acre family garden for children and their parents. Newman said it will include interactive spaces, water features, and possibly some animals.
Newman said the following are three main comments the Fort Worth Botanic Garden received from the public:
- Improved entrance off University Drive and better parking options
- Improved food and beverage options, like a restaurant or café
- Increased community engagement opportunities, like exhibits and festivals
Renderings show a new parking garage, culinary garden and education hub.
There are some hesitations from the public, Fort Worth Botanic Garden leadership acknowledges.
“With inflation, the big concern is the price tag,” Newman said. “I think timeline is something that's also difficult for people: To get really inspired and excited about what they see, and then for us to say, ‘You know, that might be five, ten years down the road,’ sometimes that's a little difficult to swallow.”
The project is expected to cost $265 million and will be a public-private partnership, according to the CEO.
Fort Worth City Council will eventually need to officially sign off on it.
But for now, you’ll still be able to enjoy the fan favorites that will remain unchanged, including the Japanese Garden.
“We heard specifically (from the public) about the Japanese Garden,” Newman said. “They love it. They want us to leave it. And we intend to do that. It really is a great space, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, and we intend to celebrate it. And really leave it as it is.”
For more on the Fort Worth Botanic Garden’s Master Plan, click here.