On October 6th, the Bend Of The River Botanic Garden will open the gates to the public for the first time. The land, gifted to the City of Temple by the Talasek family in 2011 is a historic treasure. Working with the City, we're hoping to make the property available for events that would benefit the creation of a botanic garden. But first, the Garden's newly formed nonprofit organization will hold a family festival to showcase the land and welcome the public. Open from 1:00 - 6:00 on Saturday, October 6, 2012, there will be live music featuring 5 different bands, a petting zoo, pony rides, games for kids, a photo booth, and food and beverages for sale. At just $5 per car, it's an opportunity for everyone to come see the property, bring a lawn chair and enjoy the afternoon.
Ken Cicora, Director of Parks and Leisure Services, formed a group of citizens to begin planning the formation of the Botanic Garden. Zoe Rascoe and Jennifer Graham have been traveling the country meeting with Garden Directors and learning from their mistakes and successes. The messages from the experts indicate that anything is possible, significant time should be spent in the planning stages, and the role of a public garden in a community can be transformative. It is not just a vehicle for research, education, and recreation, it is also a regional key to economic development and has the potential to infuse the tourism industry in the area.
After the Imagine If Family Festival, the Garden will continue to develop. Over the course of the next year or so, a Strategic and Master Plan will be developed, and funds will need to be secured before that can begin. As a part of the Design phase, the community will be asked to be involved in the planning process to provide ideas, areas of focus, and community support.
The Talasek family donated the 30 acre tract to the city, because it was already a beautiful piece of land with established trees, riverfront and hilly topography. The City is continuing to work on the acquisition of additional land adjoining the property to the north. This would provide more than just a larger garden space, it would also benefit infrastructure to the area. With high expectations for the development of the tract into a world class garden of the caliber of the Dallas Arboretum, it would be the only such venue between Dallas and San Antonio.