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Golden Gate Park's Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden, Conservatory Of Flowers May Soon Merge Operations

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – Officials with San Francisco Recreation and Park Department on Monday announced a proposal to merge three separate attractions at Golden Gate Park into one, creating the new "Gardens of Golden Gate Park."

The proposal would bring together the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the Conservatory of Flowers -- all three of which currently have separate admissions, education, and outreach programs -- each operated by different organizations.

Under the merge, all three gardens would be unified and collectively recognized as the Gardens of Golden Gate Park, although each garden would retain its name, respectively, recreation and park officials said.

The proposal would allow for the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society to oversee admissions at all three gardens, as well as coordinate with the organizations the San Francisco Parks Alliance and Friends of the Japanese Tea Garden. Recreation and park, however, will continue to oversee maintenance and horticulture at the three gardens.

All revenue from the admissions would be forwarded to the Recreation and Park Department, which would then reimburse the Botanical Garden Society for approved expenses, according to recreation and park officials.

The proposed merge is up for vote at the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission meeting on Thursday. If approved, the proposal would move to the city's Board of Supervisors, for a final vote at a future meeting.

"The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society is a highly qualified, longtime city partner with a strong track record. It has guided the San Francisco Botanical Garden's evolution into a world class attraction," Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement.

"Merging these gardens under the same successful operation will create organizational and operational efficiencies, inspire philanthropy, and deliver on our mission to connect people to nature and each other," he said.

Recreation and park officials are hoping that with the merge, the new Gardens of Golden Gate Park will become one of the leading botanical gardens in the U.S. over the next five to ten years through a variety of efforts, including exhibits, expanded conversation efforts, more diverse gardens, upgraded accessibility and pathways, and more public programs, among others.

San Francisco Botanical Garden Society Executive Director Stephanie Linder said, "Our vision is that the Gardens of Golden Gate Park will become a leading cultural and conservation institution over the next decade with new partnerships, master plan, interpretive plan, museum accreditation, enhanced visitor experience, and robust community engagement."

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