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Forum editorial: Botanical group has a great idea

High praise for the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society of Fargo. The society has ambitious plans to develop 52 acres in north Fargo into a spectacular garden that would include ponds, a greenhouse, amphitheater and a glass conservatory. It's ...

High praise for the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society of Fargo. The society has ambitious plans to develop 52 acres in north Fargo into a spectacular garden that would include ponds, a greenhouse, amphitheater and a glass conservatory. It's a project that will take the long view: Society members anticipate a 30-year effort at Yunker Farm near 28th Avenue North and University Drive.

What a wonderful idea. The Red River Valley is a land of gardeners. Moreover, the people of this region appreciate and cherish the land and the flora the land nourishes. A comprehensive living display of that deeply rooted heritage is appropriate.

And it's been missing.

The society is only 9 years old, but its members are focused. They've been considering the arboretum/garden/ conservatory vision for a long time. The key was location. Securing the land in the right place was vital for the project to move ahead. The society and the Fargo Park District (the owner of the land) developed an agreement whereby the society takes on the responsibility to raise funds and build features by set deadlines. If the goals are met, the district can use the reserved land for other purposes.

Furthermore, the district will take on special assessments and basic maintenance of Yunker Farm, but will not financially back the new project.

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It looks like a fair and challenging agreement. The society confronts a formidable task, but not an insurmountable one. The first phase of work is a $60,000 greenhouse east of the Children's Museum. Raising that amount is doable. Once started, potential contributors will have facilities to see.

The project is in the right place. There is lots of space in that neighborhood of north Fargo. Access is easy. Yunker Farm has been a strong attraction for many years. The society's visionary development will draw more visitors to the area.

Finally, the idea is sound because the Red River Valley's heritage is about land and coaxing beauty from plants. In addition to the exotic species that will be housed in greenhouses and a conservatory, the project will highlight native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. The educational potential is unlimited.

The society's project has been carefully considered. It appears to be well planned. It deserves enthusiastic community support.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.

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