A light rain fell as local civic leaders joined Kingwood Center Gardens officials and community members for a momentous event on Thursday afternoon.
After years of planning and fundraising, groundbreaking took place for the Garden Gateway Center project, described by one speaker as a project which while “…transformational to Kingwood, it’s also transformational to the community.”
Speakers included Kingwood Director Chuck Gleaves, who reviewed with attendees the initial vision of Charles Kelly King which resulted in Kingwood Center Gardens. As noted by Gleaves, King also envisioned a second phase project of building an “auditorium” when the facility could do so without financially jeopardizing the gardens. Some 67 years later, he shared, that day had arrived.
Board Chair Duffy Carto added that King would likely not recognize the size and scope of the current Kingwood Center Gardens operation. After ten years of reinvention, Carto shared, the initial goals for the auditorium, such as horticultural and community education, are being realized.
Board member Betty Preston acknowledged the $3 million gift of the Taylor family and the many donations which have been received since that time. Previously, it had been announced that the amounts generated would allow for a fully realized phase one project which, Preston said, would result in over $10 million in total investment. She proudly noted that the campaign overhead amounted to only 1.6% if receipts – any unusually low percentage.
Other speakers included Taylor Family representative Ric Taylor, who told those gathered that “It’s a great day for Mansfield, and an even greater day for Kingwood!;” Destination Mansfield – Richland County President Lee Tasseff, and project architect Dan Seckel.
This week, Kingwood Center Gardens launched its new Project Blog, so that those interested can learn more and follow along with the Garden Gateway Center project. Two posts have already been made, including one which includes a gallery of groundbreaking photos. The Project Blog can be read and followed at this link.
— DestinationMansfield (@DestinationMans) April 4, 2019