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New Parks in Springfield and Greene County and the Botanical Center planned for Close Memorial Park[

In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community series, Michele Skalicky talks with Jodie Adams, Director of Parks for Springfield/Greene County about new parks that are being developed in the area. And hear from Friends of the Garden members about Close Memorial Park and Gardens and about their effort to bring a Botanical Center to Springfield.

VISITORS TO CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK ON S. SCENIC IN SPRINGFIELD CAN ENJOY A WIDE VARIETY OF FLOWER GARDENS, A VARIETY OF TREES IN THE ARBORETUM THERE, A BEAUTIFUL LAKE WITH AN OCCASIONAL GREAT BLUE HERON TO VIEW AND PLENTY OF WATERFOWL AND THE OZARK GREENWAYS TRAIL THAT RUNS THRU. THEY ALSO CAN VISIT DEMONSTRATION GARDENS IN NEARBY NATHANAEL GREENE PARK AND OCCASIONALLY ATTEND GARDENING CLASSES AND PLANT SALES HELD BY UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS.

BUT IN THE FUTURE THEY MIGHT HAVE A NEW BOTANICAL CENTER TO ENJOY AS WELL. FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN, A LOCAL NON-PROFIT GROUP, IS WORKING ON THE PROJECT ALONG WITH THE SPRINGFIELD/GREENE COUNTY PARK BOARD AND UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION.

WHEN FINISHED, THE 19,000 SQUARE FOOT CENTER WOULD BE HOME TO UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION AND THE SPRINGFIELD-GREENE COUNTY PARK BOARD'S PLANNING OFFICES.

THE BOTANICAL CENTER HAS BEEN DESIGNED BY DRURY UNIVERSITY ARCHITECTS BRUCE MOORE AND JAY GARROTT IN COOPERATION WITH H DESIGN GROUP. THE CENTER WOULD BE BUILT ON TOP OF THE VISTA OVERLOOKING DRUMMOND LAKE AND CLOSE MEMORIAL GARDENS AND PARK.

MOORE EXPLAINS WHAT THE BOTANICAL CENTER WILL CONTAIN.

THE BOTANICAL CENTER WOULD BE A GREEN BUILDING—H DESIGN GROUP ALSO IS INVOLVED IN THE GREEN BUILDING ADDITION TO THE DISCOVERY CENTER OF SPRINGFIELD.

MOORE SAYS THERE'S A VARIETY OF FEATURES THAT WOULD CLASSIFY THE BOTANICAL CENTER AS A GREEN BUILDING.

JODIE ADAMS, DIRECTOR OF PARKS FOR SPRINGFIELD/GREENE COUNTY, SAYS THE BOTANICAL CENTER'S MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION WOULD BE EDUCATION.

SHE SAYS THE CENTER WOULD PROVIDE MUCH-NEEDED MEETING SPACE.

BOB CHILDRESS, PRESIDENT OF FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN, SAYS, IF THE PARKS TAX IS RENEWED IN AUGUST, THEY'LL BE READY TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION IN 2011 WHEN THE TAX REVENUES FOR THE CENTER BECOME AVAILABLE. CHILDRESS SAYS THE CENTER WOULD ALLOW MASTER GARDENERS TO OFFER MORE AND BETTER GARDENING CLASSES.

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THE CENTER ALSO WOULD ALLOW UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION AND FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN TO DEMONSTRATE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LANDSCAPING.

3.5 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE PROJECT WOULD COME FROM THE QUARTER-CENT SALES TAX FOR PARKS IF VOTERS APPROVE EXTENDING IT IN AUGUST. BUT THE BOTANICAL CENTER IS PROJECTED TO COST 4.3 MILLION DOLLARS.

BOB CHILDRESS SAYS THEY WELCOME DONATIONS.

A BUILDING AND MAINTENANCE FUND HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED WITH THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF THE OZARKS, AND CHILDRESS SAYS DONATIONS CAN BE MADE THRU THAT ORGANIZATION. MEMORIAL BRICKS FOR A WALKWAY AT CLOSE PARK CAN BE PURCHASED, AND THE PUBLIC CAN PURCHASE MEMBERSHIPS IN FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN, STARTING AT $25, WHICH ALLOW FREE ADMISSION TO THE NEARBY JAPANESE STROLL GARDEN.

GAYLORD MOORE WITH UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENTION IN GREENE COUNTY BELIEVES THE BOTANICAL CENTER WOULD PUT SPRINGFIELD ON THE BOTANICAL MAP. BUT HE SAYS IT WILL ALSO BE A GREAT ASSET FOR SPRINGFIELDIANS.

GAYLORD MOORE IS ON THE BOARD OF THE FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN ALONG WITH FELLOW UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION EMPLOYEE BETTY LORTON. THOSE INVOLVED WITH FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN ARE DEDICATED GARDENERS INCLUDING MAJOR CLOSE WHO DONATED MONEY FOR THE SPRINGFIELD-GREENE COUNTY PARK BOARD TO PURCHASE THE PROPERTY FOR CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK ABOUT 8 YEARS AGO AND ALSO GAVE MONEY FOR DRUMMOND LAKE TO BE DREDGED AND A SPILLWAY BUILT.

CLOSE SPENDS A LOT OF TIME WORKING IN THE GARDENS IN CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK. HE SAYS HIS INTEREST IN GARDENING IS DUE TO HIS FATHER.

THERE ARE SEVERAL GARDENS ALREADY ESTABLISHED AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK AND GARDENS, AND MORE ARE PLANNED. MAJOR CLOSE AND FELLOW FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN MEMBER AND VOLUNTEER BILL ROSTIN SAYS THEY'RE CURRENTLY

DEVELOPING A 20-YEAR MASTER PLAN FOR THE ENTIRE PARK.

ONE PERSON ON THE FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN BOARD, PETER LONGLEY, IS FROM ENGLAND AND HAS DEVELOPED AN ENGLISH GARDEN AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK. ROSTIN SAYS A LOT OF THEME GARDENS ARE PLANNED.

MAJOR CLOSE POINTS OUT ONE GARDEN AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK THAT FEATURES FLOWERS THAT ARE ALL WHITE.

MUCH OF THE WORK OUT AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK AND GARDENS IS DONE BY VOLUNTEERS. BILL ROSTON WAS A MAJOR PARTICIPANT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HOSTA AND GRASS GARDENS THERE. HE EXPLAINS WHY HE'S INVOLVED IN THE EFFORT TO CREATE A BOTANICAL GARDEN IN SPRINGFIELD.

ROSTON SPENDS ABOUT 3 HALF-DAYS A WEEK WORKING IN THE GARDENS AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK AND GARDENS.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT EFFORTS TO BUILD A BOTANICAL CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD OR FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN CALL UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION AT 862-9284.

THIS PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE ON THE WEB AT KSMU.ORG. FOR KSMU AND THE SOC SERIES, I'M MICHELE SKALICKY.