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Botanical Center Plans Bold Expansion
New Attraction Coming to RI
Supporters Need to Raise $5M for Children's Garden

Alma Gaul

Quad City Times

February 23, 2005, p. 1A

[Note: This material is copyright by the Quad City Times, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Quad City Times.]

Drive across the viaduct between Arsenal Island and Rock Island and look to your left.

Between the road and the Quad-City Botanical Center, there is a two-acre gravel lot marked by watery potholes, a vacant brick building, a rusty rail spur and a chain-link fence. Not much to look at.

That is about to change.

The botanical center unveiled ambitious plans Tuesday night to build a $5 million children’s garden in the space — a garden that could open as early as 2007 and become a major attraction for the Quad-Cities and beyond.

The garden will include 15 different themed areas with not only plants, but also small caves for children to climb in, eagle watches, a model of the Mississippi River and two buildings with classrooms, restrooms, concessions and storage, built to
look like barns.

“You talk about children’s gardens and you think they’re a place where kids can come down and play in the dirt,” said Clyde Schoeck, the president of Modern Woodmen of America and chairman of the botanical center’s board of directors.

“But it’s so much more than that,” he added. “We really plan on this being a destination, one of the top 10 children’s gardens in the country.”

Drawings and cost estimates were presented Tuesday by landscape architect Herb Schaal of EDAW Inc., Fort Collins, Colo., to a group of invited civic leaders and potential donors.

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