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Springfield Park District receives grant for botanical garden dome replacement

An inside view of the Washington Park Botanical Garden Conservancy Dome.
Springfield Park District
An inside view of the Washington Park Botanical Garden Conservancy Dome.

The Springfield Park District will receive a state grant to replace the dome on the Washington Park Botanical Garden Conservancy.

The $370,000 grant comes from the Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant Program from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Other grants are being awarded across the state for nearly 90 local tourism festivals and attractions.

“I am truly grateful to Governor Pritzker and the State of Illinois for their continued support of our work in the Springfield community. These grant funds will allow us to significantly improve the beauty and efficiency of our botanical garden, a special place that will continue to delight residents and visitors to our community for years to come,” said Leslie Sgro, Springfield’s Park Board President.

The grant will cover about half of the dome project’s cost. The remaining $380,000 has been allotted through a donation from the William Ed Quarry Trust.

The Conservatory Dome, constructed in 1971, currently hosts 150 species of native and exotic plants. The Park District said since its existence, it has become an important horticultural tourism attraction within Springfield and surrounding communities. It hosts roughly 60,000 patrons annually including various celebrations such as weddings, receptions, bridal and baby showers, anniversaries, proposals, and birthday parties.

Preventative maintenance has been performed over the years, but officials say the time has come to replace the major systems of the Conservatory Dome to ensure a viable future for the attraction.

The project will include:

• Demolition of the current acrylic Conservatory Dome and construction of a new one that is the same size and shape within the same location

• Replacement of entryway windows

• Replacement of all heating and cooling systems

The Springfield Park District’s application was selected for an award through a competitive process, which required demonstrating how the award would help businesses in the surrounding area, as well as the project’s ability to attract visitors for overnight stays.

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