Work Continues On Botanical Garden

Wednesday, April 30th 2008, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6

Another construction job will take dozens of years, but it's finally underway.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports work is moving forward on the Centennial Botanical Garden.

Nothing in the barren landscape hints at what is to come.  Heavy equipment is clearing away the rocky soil to build a berm that will hold a seven acre lake.  It's just one element, the first, of the Centennial Botanical Garden that up until now has existed only on paper.

The leaders of the garden toasted the beginning of the first phase a $2.2 million taxpayer funded kick start that was part of the spending for the Oklahoma Centennial.

"Everything we've done with the centennial has been a fight, the weather, finances, but it always comes down to whether it's a good project for the State of Oklahoma," said Blake Wade with the Oklahoma Centennial Commission.

With the start of heavy construction, the project is finally showing some tangible, visual results.

Construction at the garden is just getting started.  There's a temporary visitors' center and there is a large lake.  It's one of the first defining features to be built at the garden.

"Construction is messy and it seems disorganized, but out of that disorganization, appearance of disorganization, is going to come a botanical garden the whole state can be proud of," said Barry Fugatt on the Garden Board of Directors.

The lake will be complete in three weeks, but landscaping and construction around it will take much longer.  There will be 15 theme gardens and 60 smaller gardens.  That's years away, but there is already something for visitors.

"We opened two hiking trails out on the site back in the fall and a lot of people have been hiking them.  They're beautiful," said director Pat Woodrum.