Botanical Gardens to Have $10 Million Annual Impact

According to a recent report from the OSU Spears School of Business, the economic impact of construction of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, seven miles northwest of downtown Tulsa at 5323 W. 31st Street North, will be $107.6 million. When the Garden is complete and operating, the annual impact will be $10 million.
Construction of the Garden is estimated to take about 10 years, said Pat Woodrum, executive director of the Garden.
Work on the Garden has been underway for eight years. Ground was broken on the 240-acre, $40 million project Nov. 7. When the Garden is open and operating, it will employ 290 full-time and will require 500 volunteers.
Construction is underway on the Centennial Phase of the Garden, which includes an entrance road, a seven-acre lake featuring an island that will later house oriental gardens, a parking lot, and a temporary visitors’ center. The Centennial Phase is slated for completion by Spring 2008.
The economic impact of the Garden may not end at a contribution to the construction industry, as the Garden has forged relationships with a set of local education partners to determine what informal and degreed education programs will be able to be offered on the site. There are many show gardens around the U.S., Woodrum said, but the Garden in Tulsa will be a true botanical garden in that it will feature strong educational and research components. Current Institutional Partners include Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Technology Center, University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa.
“The research component was something we thought would enter in long after the Garden was opened,” Woodrum said. “But, what we’re seeing is such interest on the part of a lot of the research people in Oklahoma that it’s kind of taken on a life of its own.”
Additional development at the Garden will occur as funds are secured. When completed, the Garden will include 15 major theme gardens, 60 smaller specialty gardens, an education center, a visitors’ center, a conservatory, an interfaith chapel and an amphitheatre that will seat 3,000.
The site for the Garden was contributed by Persimmon Ridge LLC and its principal partners Gentner Drummond and Tom Atherton. Tulsa-based firms Tanner Consulting and Wallace Engineering performed initial engineering and survey work on the project, and Tulsa-based Howell & Vancuren is performing design work on the lake, including core samplings and elevation studies. At its completion, the Centennial Botanical Garden will be the largest in the state and is anticipated to attract an estimated 300,000 visitors annually.

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