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March 29, 2000

Governor Announces $3.1 Million For Chicago Botanic Garden

CHICAGO - Governor George H. Ryan today announced grants totaling nearly $3.1 million for improvements to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

"The Chicago Botanic Garden is the largest and most comprehensive botanic garden in Illinois, and one of the nation's preeminent public gardens," Ryan said "These new dollars will help this popular family attraction expand and develop new educational programs while protecting the habitat from erosion and pollution."

A state grant of $855,000 will support development of Evening Island, the second largest of the Garden's nine islands. Evening Island, located at the heart of the Chicago Botanic Garden, will be a new teaching garden with permanent horticultural exhibits.

The funds will allow for grading and irrigation work, a new drainage system, restrooms, pedestrian walkways, a plaza area and a bridge connecting Evening Island to Main Island. The award is made available through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Museum Capital Grants Program. The Museum Capital Grants Program requires a $2 dollar local or private match for every state dollar invested.

An additional $274,465 in Public Museum Operating Grant funds will allow the Garden to expand the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Community Gardening Programs and teacher training programs. The Public Museum Operating Grant Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Botanic Garden will also receive $69,680 from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Conservation 2000 program to improve the water quality of the Garden's 75-acres of lagoons. Improvements include inactivation of in-lake phosphorus, aquatic macrophyte management, shoreline erosion control, reduction of watershed nutrient runoff, and a public education program on lake management stewardship.

The remaining award, $1.9 million, has been allocated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and is made available through a grant from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. The funds will be used to stop erosion and reduce pollution along nearly 27,000 feet of shoreline on the lagoon of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The erosion control measures include the construction of stone walls, and the use of native grasses, shrubs and other materials to control erosion while protecting and improving both the habitat and the aesthetic qualities of the lagoon area.

"These grants are a perfect example of how local, state, and federal officials can work together to improve the quality of life for Illinois citizens," Ryan added.

The Chicago Botanic Garden welcomes 900,000 visitors per year to its 385-acre site. The Garden houses 23 separate garden areas and a collection of 1.5 million plants. The Garden offers a broad range of educational programs targeting children and adults from every walk of life.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed by September 2002.


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