The City of Charlottesville recently signed a memorandum to officially involve the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation in the design and construction of the McIntire Botanical Garden.
The memorandum was signed in conjunction with the McIntire Botanical Garden Nonprofit Organization, a group which helped plan the garden in 2008 in conjunction with plans for the Meadow Creek Parkway.
The parkway uses a portion of the 9-hole golf course on which the botanical garden is now expected to be built, said Peter McIntosh, vice president and treasurer of the McIntire Botanical Garden.
“Something had to be done with McIntire East,” McIntosh said. “The thought was, how do we use the 54 acre green space in this part of the city? Our thought was, we should build a botanical garden.”
Over the past few years, the nonprofit organization and the Department of Parks and Recreation have been putting together a master plan for the park which will include, among other things, a trail, skate park and pedestrian footbridge over the railroad tracks, said Brian Daly, director of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation.
“We intend to have the garden used to become a center for environmental and horticultural learning,” Daly said. “We see it as very much a programming opportunity and having the park open to the community as it always has been.”
The recent agreement announced is the next step in constructing the park, which is scheduled to open in 2017 or 2018. The memorandum provides a flexible outline for the responsibilities of each involved organization throughout construction, Daly said.
“It’s flexible enough that it can be changed over time as facilities are added or constructed and depending on who has approval for what processes,” Daly said. “It’s specific yet it is flexible.”
Although the memorandum of agreement brings together both organizations, McIntosh stressed the involvement of regular volunteers.
“[The memorandum agreement is] sort of the road map as we go forward,” McIntosh said. “Those are sort of the seminal steps over the past seven years. From our point of view, the McIntire Botanical Garden has been an entirely volunteer-run effort.”