Bellevue Botanical Garden master plan updated

The Bellevue City Council has approved an update of the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s master plan that calls for a new visitor center, an education center and a parking lot triple the size of the current one. Other features to be added to the garden include a “tree house” and a small suspension foot bridge.

The Botanical Garden is a Bellevue landmark, featuring an array of flora in a variety of gardens. City officials decided to pursue improvements to the garden to meet increasing demand, offer more educational programming and accommodate 17 acres of open space acquired in 2006.

While most display gardens and trails will not be affected, the changes are intended to make the garden more accessible to more people. The new entrance, complete with a 1,450-foot visitor services center, will be right on Main Street. The new 4,200-square-foot education center, which would replace the current garden center, will have meeting rooms for up to 60 people, which could be converted to lecture space for up to 120.

In June 2007, the council approved a contract with JGM Landscape Architects to assist the city with the master plan update. After an extensive community process, the Parks & Community Services Board recommended adoption of the update last March. An environmental review was completed in the fall.

City officials said the recently passed parks levy, together with contributions from the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, will provide the initial funding for what will be a phased, multi-year project.