On Friday December 1st Kingwood Center Gardens announced the public phase of our first ever capital campaign. We have been quietly soliciting foundations and potential major donors for several months and are now on the cusp of reaching 7 million dollars in pledged and received donations. Our goal is 8.5 million, but, if truth be told, 9 million would more fully achieve our phase one construction goals, especially as it relates to the garden aspects of the project.
We will now be asking our long-time visitors, and supporters as well as the public in general to help us complete this campaign and transform Kingwood into a more dynamic, enjoyable and especially financially sustainable public garden.
The primary feature of our phase one plans is a visitor center and its associated “parking garden”.
Our September, 2015 master plan identified the primary shortcoming of a visit to Kingwood Center Gardens as the lack of a central point of arrival to a garden visit where people could have access to amenities such as food, restrooms, and shopping; where they could receive information about the gardens, or have a common place to assemble; where they could talk to a wide range of staff, attend meetings, classes, special events or private rentals, and any number of activities that add multiple layers of experience to a visit to Kingwood Center Gardens.
We also need to provide for our ever-growing audience with more parking spaces, but we are a garden, so the idea of a barren sea of asphalt in the middle of our garden was anathema to our mission, thus the “parking garden”. Aesthetics are important to us, but the practical aspects of a leafy parking lot are at least as important as well. Bio-swales will gather surface water for filtration of pollutants, recharge of the aquifer, and moderation of surface water surges over our gardens and into our bordering stream, Touby Run. Trees will moderate heat over the paving and offer visitors a more desirable environment for parking and walking. Our ambition is for the parking lot to qualify as the first garden to visit in a trip to Kingwood.
We are excited about the other gardens that will be associated with the Visitor Center as well. A wonderful arrival display, a back terrace with an alcove featuring a fountain, and a boardwalk leading through a newly designed garden will all add new garden features to our already dense garden offerings.
I hope you can support us through this capital campaign process and anticipate with us the great strides a successful campaign will enable.
Chuck Gleaves, Director
Kingwood Center Gardens