FAQ’s about the proposed renovation and expansion of the Botanic Gardens Greenhouse
Q. If the vote passes, will my taxes go up?
A. No. This tax has been part of our county’s revenue for many decades.
Q. What happens if it doesn’t pass on August 21st?
A. The greenhouse, at taxpayers added expense, will still be required to accommodate the handicapped standards as grandfathering is no longer allowed. The greenhouse will still have to widen aisles (causing the greenhouse to grow 40% fewer plants), add an elevator and expand the restrooms. The Botanic Gardens grounds and city plantings will forever be reduced by 40%.
The greenhouse will still need major repairs and renovation will likely be shutdown for a year while repairs occur. This risks the loss of many volunteers, and a year without cultivated grounds or city flower beds being planted. Expansion will not occur.
Q. If it doesn’t pass on August 21st what happens to the $750,000 renovation and expansion design and construction drawings that voters approved back in the 2008 6th penny.
A. Sadly, the design and construction drawings will basically go into the trash.
Q. $16 million seems like a lot of money
A. $12 million is for construction of both renovation and expansion of a greenhouse addition
$2 million is for safety improvements Lions Park roads, intersections and sidewalks.
Another $2 million covers future operational costs for up to 10 years.
The expense of the greenhouse construction is high because the renovated greenhouse and the new greenhouse expansion will both be solar heated and cooled with renewable energy. While this type of energy is more expensive to build, it is much cheaper to operate. Also the building must be waterproof and immune to effects of humidity and condensation. Finally, construction costs have sharply risen while the dollar has lost 40% of its value since 2004.
Q. Is it a menu style ballot with the Greenhouse by itself?
A. Yes. You can vote for none, some or all of the projects on the ballot.
Q. Why not just renovate? Why is expansion needed?
A. Expansion makes up for the 40% loss of growing space that would occur when the old greenhouse gets widen aisles for handicapped access. Additional space has been added to the expanded greenhouse to allow for future needs and because the greenhouse can’t meet current requests for city flower plantings.
Expansion also creates revenue generating spaces including a museum store and plant-filled public spaces for weddings, conferences, meetings, retreats and classes. This revenue greatly lessens the need for taxpayers dollars for the future operation of Botanic Gardens.
Expansion also provides space for an educational exhibit featuring a real Navy Submarine Periscope along with microscopes and telescopes enhancing the Gardens role as the community science center.