By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The Rotary After Work meeting took place at 6 pm on Tuesday, July 25, at Clem Mikeska’s in Temple. The meeting was called to order by Bill Stokes and opened with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Approximately 12 Rotarians were in attendance. Guest speakers were Alfred Knight, D.M., President of the Bend of the River Foundation and Zoe Rascoe (Texas A&M AgriLife Research | Blackland). Dr. Knight presented the Conceptual Master Plan for the Bend of the River Botanic Garden.
Plans for this long-term project are underway, and with the Bend of the River’s ideal location, it promises to be a regional asset for Central Texas. Over the course of ten years, 90 acres of land will be transformed into a unique and serene setting. The Botanic Garden has endless opportunities, and it has tremendous potential.
“This park can work as a reason for people to come to this area. There are great gardens all over the country working hard to do things differently. We get the opportunity to plan our botanic garden right from the beginning,” said Rascoe. “There are four big pillars that we are focusing on as we plan this park – a space for community gatherings, education/research, health and wellness, and nature/gardens. Those four areas will inspire people to come here to visit the garden.”
Dr. Knight spoke of the various potential components that will embody the Bend of the River Botanic Garden.
“This is so much more than just a park – it is fundamentally different. Bend of the River is going to be a fantastic place where families want to gather, and it will also be a place that people travel to,” said Knight. “We are excited about the potential the Botanic Garden holds – among other things; we are planning to have various gardens, quiet places, small picnic places, wellness/health promotion, hike/bike trails, and a proposed canopy walk through the treetops.”
Among other things, the Botanic Garden will be a natural space for learning, research, weddings, concerts, cultural enrichment, fellowship, and leisure activities.
“This project will impact the entire region, so we need the regions’ support. It isn’t just a Temple thing – it has the potential to positively impact Central Texas,” said Knight. “We are not going to invade the river at all. The banks will be cultivated naturally to enhance the beauty all around.”
Currently, the organization is beginning to plan the fundraising to fund the botanic garden. All fundraising avenues will be considered. The Bend of the River Botanic Garden promises to delight enthusiasts of all ages. Anyone interested in following the progress of the garden can visit www.bendoftheriver.com and sign up to stay informed.