Expansion plan for South Park landmark envisions new exhibits and grow houses, butterfly conservatory, classroom space
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Thursday joined Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society President and CEO David Swarts to announce a county funding commitment of $2.5 million to support the Botanical Gardens’ proposed expansion. The plan would add 36,000 square-feet of space for a butterfly conservatory, state‐of‐the‐art educational classrooms, new exhibits and grow houses, and event spaces.
The commitment builds on prior county investments at the Botanical Gardens, including an investment of approximately $3.5 million for extensive upgrades and improvements to historic greenhouses two and three. Completed in 2016, those improvements included steel refurbishment and replacement, foundation and masonry repair, wood restoration and replacement, and complete glass replacement, along with other significant improvements.
“The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are a unique and irreplaceable asset owned by the people of Erie County. Now well over a century old and seeing increased visitation every year, this historic treasure will see a rebirth as new greenhouses, meeting spaces and classrooms are added to ensure its educational and conservational role far into the future,” Poloncarz said. “Investments such as these reaffirm our commitment to the gardens as well as to the people of Erie County, demonstrating once again that we support our cultural institutions and embrace their role in improving our quality of life. I urge Chairman Savage and the (Erie County) Legislature to approve this funding and I look forward to working with President Swarts as this plan moves forward.”
Swarts added, “The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has been a cultural asset in Western New York since 1900 and we are extremely grateful for the support and significant commitment Erie County Executive Poloncarz is making to this project. The Botanical Gardens has been experiencing record growth in recent years and annually welcome over 140,000 visitors to enjoy our architectural beauty, connect with a unique horticulture collection, and participate in educational programs. The society continues to discuss the plan with public and private funders and will be contracting with local firms to conduct an environmental impact study (SEQR), a traffic study, and a land survey assessment.”
For more information on the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, visit https://buffalogardens.com/.