Ventura Breeze

Grant Park ViewPanoramic view  of Grant Park, future site of Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens gets the “green” light

On December 6 the Ventura City Council voted unanimously to approve the lease option for the Ventura Botanical Gardens to be located in Grant Park above city hall, one of the city's most stunning pieces of land.

At least 25 Ventura Botanical Garden supporters were in attendance to show their support to the City Council and broke into applause and cheers at the Councils’ final vote.

The significance of this action is that the City of Ventura has now officially green lighted the project so that it can move forward into the next stages of development. With the lease in hand (almost) VBGI can now proceed to secure funding and donors to make the Gardens a reality.

Brooke Ashworth, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, said, “I think this will be a huge asset to our community.” The Commission recently voted in support of the proposal and lease terms. Ashworth praised the backers for their professionalism and extensive public outreach.

The Ventura Botanical Garden supporters have spent three years building support, researching and developing their vision of having a public garden which could include everything from native wildflowers, indigenous species and redwood trees to hiking paths. Additionally, the group envisions a gift shop, telescopes on site, a tram leading downtown, and perhaps one day, a much needed amphitheatre and educational center.

Grant Park has a quiet, majestic character with its stoic cross, poignant figurative bridges to the area’s history, and a surreal panoramic view of glorious hillsides and coastline. Local non-profit, Ventura Botanical Gardens, Inc. (VBGI) picked the park out of 17 potential sites as the ideal setting for Ventura’s own botanical garden. 107 acres with a 360-degree view overlooking downtown Ventura, the coastline, the mountains and the area’s expansive agricultural fields.

In a previous issue of the Breeze Doug Halter, vice president of VBGI stated that “I can tell you, I have never been so excited about a project. Having chosen a site, VBGI will next seek approval from City commissions and form partnerships with other community organizations, such as the Tourism Bureau and Arts Council, in order to move ahead.”

Despite the ongoing economic challenges faced by our nation, VBGI is committed to pursuing the opportunity to transform a breathtaking, yet underutilized site, into a cultural venue of regional and national importance. They have stated “We are dedicated to bringing such a garden experience to our county. To this end, we have spent countless hours developing a Vision Plan and negotiating a lease and lease option with the City of Ventura.”

Grant Park view
Photo by Jane Stites

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