Murray Blackwelder, External Affairs, (515) 294-7730
Teresa McLaughlin, Reiman Gardens, (515) 294-4412
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720
NO FEE AT REIMAN GARDENS FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR
AMES, Iowa -- Here's good news for all those looking forward to
an early spring stroll through the Reiman Gardens at the entrance of the
Iowa State University campus: You'll be able to do so without paying an
Roy and Bobbi Reiman have volunteered to make an additional
contribution that will keep the gardens admission free until the opening of
a new conservatory and butterfly house, Murray Blackwelder, Iowa State vice
president for external affairs, announced today.
"The Reimans asked to meet with us regarding the admission fee at the
gardens this spring," said Blackwelder. "They fully understood our need for
funds to cover what will soon be a sizeable operating budget.
"When the new conservatory and butterfly wing opens next year,
this could soon become one of the biggest tourist sites in Iowa,"
Blackwelder added. "It will require a large staff and a lot of maintenance.
We need to start staffing up now, so that schedules and programs will all be
While the Reimans understood and recognized the need for an
admission fee, they were reluctant to limit the access and enjoyment of all
those who had become accustomed to taking leisurely strolls through the
flowered grounds, said Blackwelder.
They volunteered to make a gift to ensure free access until the
conservatory and butterfly flight house are complete. The new facilities are
scheduled to open late next year. Blackwelder declined to state the amount
of the Reimans' gift.
"We're obviously very pleased and gratified by this generous gift," said
Blackwelder, "I'm sure the thousands of Iowans and out-of-state
visitors feel the same."
The gift will allow at least a full year for Reiman Gardens' officials to
study the admission fee issue further, as well as do market surveys, program
development and staff selection.
"Schools across Iowa want to come here to learn about horticulture,
entomology, botany and nature, and we need to staff up now to set up
teaching programs for these students and schedule these visits far in
advance," said Blackwelder.
The conservatory and butterfly house will increase interest in the
gardens, he said.
"These two buildings will make this a 12-month attraction, and when
people see how grand these facilities are and how much it requires to
maintain them, we don't think they'll mind paying a modest fee to
come inside," said Blackwelder.