SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is embarking on a 67-million dollar 10-year plan that will completely upgrade and transform their 14-acre property on the Sarasota Bayfront.
"It takes our living plant and preserve plant collection and moves them out of the flood zone and the second part is it gives some organization and it really helps orient people to get around the gardens much better," said Mischa Kirby, Director of Communications for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Kirby says the plan will take place in three phases which includes the removal of several buildings to make way for more green space and also the building of a five story parking garage. The parking garage has some folks who live nearby concerned about traffic. Tom Luzier's family has lived in the Hudson Bayou neighborhood, just blocks from the property, since the 1920's. Luzier has also served on the Board of Trustees for Selby. He tells us residents should not have any concerns with this project.
"It puts the parking into one logical location and creates a flow in and out of the property that doesn't exist today," said Luzier.
Luzier is one resident who can't wait for the transformation of Selby Gardens to take place, especially because he says they now have their eye on the future.
"Employ green building technology, solar rays, living walls," said Luzier. "It's just really exciting stuff that we really haven't seen around here."
Selby will be getting the money for the project through a major fundraising campaign. If all goes according to plan, work on the project could begin within three years.
"We've got a lot of excitement, we've been talking with neighbors and I think there is a general excitement," said Kirby. "We got some work to do to be able to make sure that everyone is happy and finds the plan appeasing to the neighborhood."