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Selby Gardens cuts the ribbon on Phase 1 of its Master Plan

Joel Morganroth, chair of the board of trustees, cuts the ribbon.
Joel Morganroth, chair of the board of trustees, cuts the ribbon.
Photo by Ian Swaby
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For staff at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the ribbon-cutting for Phase 1 of the Transformational Master Plan, which opens to the public on Thursday, was not just a defining moment for the gardens.

They say it is a step forward for the world, which can set a model for other organizations to follow.

The project, which adds 188,030 square feet of new facilities to Selby Gardens' Downtown Sarasota Campus, features multiple new facilities such as the Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility, bringing what staff say is the world's first net-positive energy restaurant entirely utilizing solar power.

The Jean Goldstein Welcome Center
Photo by Ian Swaby

The ceremony saw speeches delivered by multiple individuals involved with the project, as well as Mayor Liz Alpert, and was preceded with a performance of "America the Beautiful" by Choral Artists of Sarasota. 

Many speakers highlighted the innovative nature of the project. 

The Green Orchid, the restaurant operated by Michael's On East, will draw its fresh produce from a rooftop edible garden and a nearly 50,000 square-foot array of solar panels.

"It's just exhilarating to be at this point, and it's the culmination of the hard work and dedication of so many people from Selby Gardens' board of trustees who are members, volunteers, contributors, donors, and of course, our staff," said Selby Gardens president and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki.

The Jean Goldstein Welcome Center and the Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility
Photo by Ian Swaby

Other major additions include the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center, which includes the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Herbarium and Laboratory and more, as well as the Jean Goldstein Welcome Center.

Other features include a stormwater management system, a multiuse recreational trail, off-site roadway improvements, new garden and water features with more open space, including a Lily Pond Garden, the restoration of historic Palm Avenue as a promenade for pedestrians and more. 

The completion of the project follows the raising of more than $57 million, with $51.6 being directed toward Phase 1.



Ian Swaby

Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.

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