By Diane Emeott-Korzen | New Pelican Writer
Pompano Beach – A tropical garden, bromeliad and orchid garden are the community preferences for the McNab House and Botanical Gardens. The community rang in with their preferences at a Dec. 6 evening meeting held at the Emma Lou Olson Civic Center.
Preferred paving materials for garden walkways are concrete/concrete pavers and boardwalk. Waterfalls/mist came in No. 1 for a water feature. Landscape lighting won for preferred lighting type.
Activities favored for the children’s garden are education/classes and exploration. A playground option came in last. Modern furnishings and modern art were also favored.
About 100 people attended the two-hour meeting that featured a detailed presentation with a virtual walk through the garden, next steps and a timeline. Randy Hollingsworth, spokesperson for Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, the firm hired by the city to help design the project, presented the options.
The next step is a major site plan drawing due to go to the Design Review Committee in March of 2023. More public meetings on the project are slated for 2023: the Community Redevelopment Agency Board in June, and the Planning and Zoning Board, November. In between, there will be submissions to the Architectural Appearance Committee in July of 2023, and to Planning and Zoning in September of 2023.
A development order is expected to be issued in December of 2023, with permitting and construction to follow.
Two pavilions are envisioned for the McNab House and Botanical Gardens. An event pavilion encased in transparent glass on the central lawn, and a garden pavilion in the southwest corner.
“This garden can accommodate a lot of things. You may not have any interest in plant materials. You may just want to come here and sit, and enjoy a beautiful day in the sun,” said Joshua Rak, senior planner for Bermello, adding that the garden pavilion can be used for a variety of things, including wedding pictures.
Other features include a yet-to-be-designed children’s garden in the northwest corner, and a classroom/restroom building. “There is a great opportunity for public art in the gardens,” Rak said.
A very large ficus tree, located directly behind the house, will remain as a focal point. The idea is to create an enclave retreat from the urban environment on Atlantic Boulevard and Southeast 2 Street.
Phase I of the project is the historic house, with a kitchen to be added.
CRA Project Manager Sarah Mulder said for the last several months CRA staff has been bringing forward different grant applications for CRA Board approval to fund the botanical gardens. Staff will continue to do that for Phase 2 which includes a classroom, children’s garden, garden pavilion, tea house, maintenance building, botanical gardens, event lawn and event facility, and continue to negotiate with Mad Room regarding the restaurant, cafe, and bar.
Of the total 3.65 acre site area, the restaurant and event pavilion comprise .59 acres.