By 1808Delaware

One of the gems in our own backyard, Columbus’ Franklin Park Conservatory is on a new path to glow even brighter.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio, has unveiled an ambitious blueprint for its future. Named the “North Star Master Plan,” this strategic framework is set to redefine the conservatory as a top botanical destination over the next quarter-century. This initiative, which emerged from two years of extensive community engagement and expert consultations, proposes an array of over 15 significant capital projects aimed at enhancing visitor experiences and facilities.

A New Gateway to Nature’s Wonders

At the heart of the North Star Master Plan is the relocation of the main entrance from its current position on East Broad Street to a more central spot at the existing traffic intersection of Woodland Avenue and Broad Street. This move is designed to streamline access and improve traffic flow, enhancing safety and visitor convenience. The plan also introduces a state-of-the-art underground parking solution, centralizing vehicle storage beneath a newly conceptualized Gateway Building, which will serve as the primary point of entry.

Revitalizing Core Structures

A significant portion of the plan is dedicated to the revitalization of the Conservatory’s iconic structures, such as the John F. Wolfe Palm House and the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse. These renovations aim to preserve the historical integrity of these landmarks while upgrading their facilities to meet modern standards and visitor expectations.

Expanding and Enhancing Garden Spaces

The Conservatory will see the creation of the new Grand Mallway, bordered by the imaginative North and South Signature Gardens. These spaces are designed to be both naturalistic and whimsical, offering visitors a refreshing blend of traditional garden beauty and creative landscaping.

Comprehensive Visitor Facilities

The proposed Visitor Center Building is poised to become a hub of activity, housing the Conservatory’s restaurant, gift shop, event venues, restrooms, and potentially an art gallery. This center will not only cater to the needs of Conservatory visitors but also serve patrons of Franklin Park, thereby fostering a communal spirit.

Future-Forward Additions

Looking ahead, the Conservatory plans to expand its offerings with the addition of two new biomes. One will host the Conservatory’s renowned Chihuly collection, the largest of its kind in a botanical garden setting. The other is anticipated to feature a year-round butterfly experience, adding a dynamic new dimension to the botanical displays.

The existing main building will undergo a transformation into a versatile facility accommodating visitor spaces, office areas, classrooms, and more. The plan also includes the expansion of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden and the greenhouse operations complex, further extending the Conservatory’s educational and recreational capabilities.

This comprehensive overhaul, characterized by its blend of preservation, innovation, and community focus, promises to position Franklin Park Conservatory as a premier destination for botanical exploration and enjoyment.

More details and photos can be viewed here.

Source, Photo: Franklin Park Conservatory

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