As an eternal optimist, I love the beginning of a new year. It is a blank canvas waiting to be filled with the joys of new adventures. I’m particularly excited about what we have planned at the Gardens for visitors in 2020.
Before turning my attention to what we have planned, the Selby Gardens’ team has been busy the past several months. The restored Selby House opened in early December and we received a registered trademark for The Living Museum®. The botany and education teams received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for a nationwide citizen science project, and Bruce Holst, Vice President of Botany, celebrated a milestone anniversary. Sadly, we pay tribute to our co-founder Dr. Carlyle Luer who passed in November.
As we turn the page and begin a new decade, I’m thrilled to share that there are many reasons to visit Selby Gardens in the new year. Season kicks off January 5 with the Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition and sale. On February 9, we will unveil the fourth installment of the Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind in collaboration with The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. A robust roster of programs, lectures, and special events invite guests to explore the exhibition in more depth throughout the five-month run, which closes on June 28.
Thank you for your continued interest in and support of Selby Gardens’ vision for the future. We are conducting listening sessions with key stakeholders in the community in order to arrive at a compromise Master Plan that would allow us to stay at our 15-acre location in downtown Sarasota. In December, our team submitted an application request for the City of Sarasota to host a public workshop about our plans. Throughout three years of meetings, nearly 40 hours of public testimony, and, most recently, through our listening sessions, we have determined several parameters that will guide us in shaping our compromise plan.
Our intent is to create a plan that will be achievable without an amendment to the City of Sarasota’s Comprehensive Plan – the guiding document for development within the city limits. Our intent is to also limit the height of the parking structure to a maximum of 45 feet, which the Comprehensive Plan presently allows. Further, our intent is to limit the implementation of an onsite restaurant as only an “accessory” use, which would restrict its size, access, and hours of operation. We look forward to receiving additional feedback at listening sessions as well as at the upcoming Community Workshop, which will help us formulate the plan.
Many spectacular experiences await visitors to Selby Gardens in 2020, and I invite you to come often, bring your friends and family, and engage with all that our natural world offers you this year!
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO