The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is pleased to welcome Houston Botanic Garden as a new organizational member.
More than 30 years ago, Nancy Thomas, Anita Stude, and Kay Crooker had a vision of a magnificent botanic garden in Houston to rival ones they had visited in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City. They understood the important role a botanic garden could play culturally, educationally, and scientifically in the lives of Houstonians. They kept their vision alive by searching for an ideal site with the right topography, acreage, and location.
In 2002, the Houston Botanic Garden formed a Board of Directors. The mission of the Houston Botanic Garden is to enrich life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.
In January 2015, the City of Houston generously partnered with the HBG by agreeing to lease a 120-acre site on Sims Bayou in the Glenbrook area of Houston to allow the development of a botanic garden for generations to enjoy. Later in 2015, with input from the public, the Houston Botanic Garden released its Master Plan designed by renowned landscape design firm West 8. A peer review committee consisting of a select group of leaders from established gardens in the United States also informed the Master Plan. The five-year plan includes the capital campaign, design and construction, establishment of the education program, recruitment and training of volunteers, cultivation of members and sponsors, and the ultimate goal of opening the Garden. In response to community requests, Phase I, scheduled to open in 2020, will include shaded trails and walkways, spectacular year-round displays of a variety of plants, bayou and floodable gardens, along with education spaces and event venues.
In addition to the beauty and educational opportunities the Garden will provide, the Greater Houston Partnership estimates (assuming a Phase I construction cost of $40 million) the Garden will have a one-time economic impact on the region of $93.4 million, and that, once open, operations and tourism will contribute between $19.6 million and $24.4 million to Houston’s economy annually, depending on attendance.
Claudia Gee Vassar is serving as the Interim Executive Director. Jose L. Leal recently joined as HBG’s Office Manager. Additionally, Venturi Outcomes, L.L.C. will be the project manager for the construction of this exciting new addition of Houston Botanic Garden to the Houston landscape.