Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Renovated Botanical Garden, Arboretum to Be Unveiled at Oklahoma State University

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Renovated Botanical Garden, Arboretum to Be Unveiled at Oklahoma State University

Article excerpt

The grand opening of the renovated 100-acre Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum at Oklahoma State University has been scheduled to coincide with the 10th annual GardenFest, officials said.

The project has been in the works for several years, said Dale Maronek, head of OSU's department of horticulture and landscape architecture. But it's been something of a secret to most of the public because accessibility and visibility have been limited. The event June 18 will unveil the new entrance off State Highway 51 about a mile west of Stillwater.

The Botanical Garden, established in 1935, is a working park for OSU students and faculty with many different research plots and nurseries set aside for ongoing research projects such as a turf grass breeding program and runoff water hydrology studies. The park has thousands of species of herbaceous and woody plants. The vast majority of space is open to the public, department spokeswoman Margaret Struble said.

In comparison to the Botanical Garden's 100 acres, the planned central park near downtown Oklahoma City being developed as part of the MAPS 3 sales tax will be 70 acres with several public event venues, flowers and grassy play areas; Martin Park Nature Center in northwest Oklahoma City is 144 acres of undeveloped forest with walking paths; and Trosper Park golf course in southeast Oklahoma City is about 640 acres. Central Park in Manhattan, N.Y., is 843 acres.

Without a highway entrance, the park wasn't benefiting from the publicity it deserved, Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cristy Morrison said.

"It's been a challenge to be able to direct people there, because unless you knew the area it was somewhat difficult to find," she said. "The entrance is definitely going to help.

"The park is very popular to a lot of people already because they change some of the gardens every year and keep some as they mature. And we also have people who want to visit because it's the studio garden of (television show) Oklahoma Gardening on OETA," Morrison said. …

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