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City council approves plan to expand Botanical Center

The Des Moines City Council has approved a master plan for renovations and expansion of the Des Moines Botanical Environmental Center. 

City staff had recommended approval of the plan, which the council approved on a 6-1 vote Monday night. Councilman Skip Moore cast the lone vote against the plan. The city’s Park and Recreation Board approved the plan earlier in May. 

Part of the city’s long-term lease agreement with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Corp. (GDMBGC) is that the organization raises $10 million in the first five years following the plan’s approval. Currently, the GDMBGC has raised about $10.1 million and has a goal of raising $11.6 million in total.

Construction and renovation to the Botanical Center, and outside areas such as Robert D. Ray Drive, will cost about $7.35 million, according to information from the city. The GDMBGC plans to use $2.4 million as an endowment for future operating costs. 

Simonson & Associates Architects LLC is the main architect for the project, and The Weitz Co. will be in charge of construction, according to city documents.

Doug Hoerr, a principal with Chicago-based Hoerr-Schaudt Landscape Architects, is the landscape architect for the project. Hoerr has been involved with previous projects in Des Moines, including gardens along Fleur Drive and Ingersoll Avenue and outside the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Featherstone Inc., a construction management firm based in Downers Grove, Ill., will assist in designing a water garden education feature for the Botanical Center. 

To read a city summary of the master plan, click here. For a dsm Magazine story about the current renovations and expansion of the Botanical Center, click here. 

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