MIAMI BEACH (CBS4)- The Miami Beach Botanical Garden will have a new look by fall 2011.  That’s because the garden is getting a multimillion dollar makeover.

Starting this week, public access to the garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr. will be restricted through October to allow for a $1.2 million landscape renovation project.

The enhancements include relocating existing palms and shade trees, adding more native plants and trees, removing extensive concrete pathways and brick pillars and moving the main entrance to the southeast corner of the garden, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

All tours, community activities and arts and education programs are cancelled during construction.

Executive Director Laura Jamieson said the 2.6-acre garden hasn’t undergone renovations this extensive since it opened as a Miami Beach park in 1962. The garden is owned by the city and operated by the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy.

“Over the last 50 years, this garden has gone through numerous hurricanes and the plants need refurbishing,” Jamieson said. “The public will see some amazing and refreshing changes. We are excited to finally do this.”

Harbour Construction is the contractor working on the project designed by South Florida landscape architect Raymond Jungles. His design will add a larger water pond that will create more open space.

“A large water garden will bring the sky into the garden, animate the space and reflect the landscape,” Jungles stated in a press release. “Water gardens will cool the areas directly around the buildings and also magnify the garden’s sense of scale.”

When the garden is complete, Jungles said, it will be easier to navigate “without the restrictive fences that now exist.”

The garden renovation is being funded by general obligation bonds and administered by the city’s Capital Improvements Project Office.

While all tours and programs will be canceled throughout the summer renovation, staff will remain on site to book future weddings and other social events. Jamieson said the garden’s busiest season is from November to April.

“We regret cancelling our programs, especially the children’s summer program, but it will be well worth it,” she said. “We will be open in time for our peak season.”


(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)


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