Two of the greenhouses that make up part of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens are undergoing an extensive restoration project, the first major work on the structures since they first opened more than a century ago.
The project, which exceeds $3 million, covers Houses 2 and 3 and includes full replacement of dome glass, structural improvement, asbestos removal and foundation and masonry repair.
"This building was state-of-the-art when it was built at around 1900. It is not state-of-the-art today but this facility will be state-of-the-art very soon," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
The remainder of the Botanical Gardens remains open for business. Because of the renovations now underway, several plantings including a 500-year-old Prickly Cycad were moved. The Prickly Cycad, a gift to the Botanical Gardens more than 70 years ago by the Albright Knox Art Gallery, is the oldest plant in the Botanical Gardens' collection.
"The structure will be much more sturdy. It will live a longer life. It will be more secure and safe for the public who visits here and for the staff," said David Swarts, president and CEO of the Botanical Gardens. "Also, it gives us an opportunity to update, if you will, the actual exhibits in those two houses."
Swarts said when the houses reopen, the waterfall and koi pond will still be there. Work is expected to be completed by next June.