Master Plan: Q & A
Why is the Garden going to be located at Glenbrook Park Golf Course?
The City of Houston offered the Glenbrook site on a long-term lease to the Houston Botanic Garden which was unanimously approved by City Council in January 2015. Houston Botanic Garden then commenced with the preparation of the master plan. This has involved ongoing meetings with the local community and other interested groups to learn about people’s concerns and hopes relating to the development and operation of the Garden.
How much will it cost to enter the Houston Botanic Garden?
We are studying admission policies, discounted admissions, and types of membership at other botanic gardens around the country and other similar institutions in Houston.
It is likely final decisions on admission and membership policies and costs will be made once the Garden is under construction and close to opening.
Will neighbors have free access to the Garden?
We want all Houstonians to be able to enjoy the Garden. Many museums and attractions have periodic, sponsored “free days,” and we have learned of botanic gardens that have a discounted neighborhood membership.
We think these are ideas worth investigating further and hope to find sponsors for free admission programs to help subsidize these programs.
What will happen in Charlton Park?
The Garden’s lease provides access through the easternmost edge of Charlton Park away from the building, pavilion, tennis courts and playground. Other than the entry to the Garden, Charlton Park will remain a City park facility.
We aim to minimize negative impact on Charlton Park and to enhance the Park with any potential impacts, such as by adding shade trees or other beautification along Park Place Blvd.
What about the school? Won’t the new Garden create traffic problems for the school?
We plan to be a good neighbor and to manage traffic and Garden operations when the school has its peak traffic periods.
What is the Garden doing to ensure that there will not be noise pollution during special events?
The City of Houston has very clear regulations on sound, and the Houston Botanic Garden will comply with all City regulations. The City Sound Ordinance was adopted specifically to protect neighborhood residents from noise pollution.
What will the Garden do to ensure that lighting will not be a problem?
The botanic garden is designed with nature at the core of its mission. We do not anticipate a problem with lighting and look forward to updating you when we are further along in our design process.
The site is filled with birds and nature. What will the construction do to this beautiful environment?
The Garden will aim to enhance the site and play up its beautiful features while creating a place for learning, gathering and recreating.
There will be many types of gardens, including woodland gardens with trails, and the natural bayou will be treated as a special feature. In fact, many of the gardens will be on the island created by the bayou and the oxbow.
Will the Garden have security?
Yes, the Garden will have a security plan. We are designing what we hope is a welcoming, safe and beautiful place.
Will there be a parking garage?
We are planning surface parking inside the Garden for visitors and employees for the term of this master plan.
What type of programming will there be?
Great ideas were suggested at the May community meeting for programming related to learning, community gathering and recreation.
We are working to incorporate these ideas into the planning and are looking forward to your additional ideas at the community meeting on September 30, 2015.
Programming will be more defined in the 6 to 12 months prior to opening. We look forward to keeping you posted.
What is the project timeline?
Right now, Houston Botanic Garden has a contract with the City of Houston for a 30-year lease on the Glenbrook Park Golf Course site with two 30-year renewal periods. The Garden must meet fundraising goals by year end 2015 and year end 2017 in accordance with the City contract. The Houston Botanic Garden will not be permitted to occupy the site until it meets the 2017 goal.
We are currently in the early stages of the design phase and are raising money to meet the fundraising goals and to construct the Garden.
We have a plan to raise funds, prepare designs, and complete construction so that we can open sometime in 2020. Of course, all things need to happen as hoped for us to make this schedule. We will continue to monitor and update this timeline as we proceed.
How can I stay involved? Will there be more meetings?
The Garden is committed to being a good neighbor and an asset to this area. We want to keep the lines of communication open with the surrounding neighborhoods and work together.
We have created multiple formats for communication: community meetings, the website (which will be updated periodically), and we also have established a Community Sounding Board with representatives of each of the nearby neighborhoods to help us dig deeper into addressing community concern and to establish a forum for communication and collaboration on shared concerns.
We will continue to explore ways to gather information and communicate with the community as we move through planning, design and construction. After opening, the Houston Botanic Garden will work with the community to understand operations questions and to generate solutions.