The Four-Year Overnight Success
By Kimberly Fish

Saturday, October 12, 2019, the Longview Arboretum “officially blooms.” When folks tour the arboretum, wander the trails, stand atop the hilltop plaza and gaze across the formal gardens, or watch water trickle through the stream, they will say “How did this happen?” or “How did I not know this was in the works?”. The answer is simple, all the fundraising dollars for the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center went into the soil or visitor center. The board of directors have relied on word-of-mouth enthusiasm, the e-newsletter distributed through the website www.longviewarboretum.org or Facebook to inform Longview-ites of the birth of the most beautiful park in our city’s history. That’s a flawed format, but come October, momentum and enthusiasm will do the rest.

The Longview Arboretum is a public/private partnership (the city owns the land, but the Board of Directors for the LANC, a 501C3, non-profit, generates and manages the beautification efforts.) With an Executive Director at the helm, the arboretum will open daily for guests to explore, group tours, special events, and renting out a space within the arboretum or visitor center for weddings, memorials, or corporate parties. Like gardens at home, it will take seasons for the shrubbery and plants to mature. Local families planted good seeds into the arboretum and the formal gardens tell a story of their investment; something ever-growing—a living tribute to those they love. What folks will see in October is just the beginning. The portion of the overall plan that is “officially blooming” is known as Phase 1. There remain 15 acres, a Visitor and Nature Center, plaza, and potential children’s garden still in the works. Every time a visitor tours the Longview Arboretum, they’ll come away discovering something new, fresh, and surprising.

Only five minutes from the city center, the Longview Arboretum can become everyone’s first choice to unplug from work and reconnect to nature. As it is easy to access from I-20, tourists will discover this jewel, and spend an hour stretching their legs and recalibrating their spirits. A gift shop inside the Visitor and Nature Center—706 West Cotton Street—will become a treasure trove of specialty items and art.

Mark your calendars for October 12thand enjoy a blooming big day of celebrations, music, children’s events, food trucks, and seeing firsthand the cultivated land that was first revealed at those “Peek at the Park” events in autumns past. Arrive at 706 West Cotton Street or use the West Gate entrance inside the Maude Cobb Activity and Convention Center parking lot; the day’s events are from 10am-4pm. There is no entrance fee this first day, but donations are welcomed. Leave your email at www.longviewarboretum.org to receive news and event information, but for this “officially blooming” day—just come, and see the overnight success.