The restoration of the Olmsted Garden (above) began in September with construction of a new bulkhead along the St. Johns River. The restoration will be completed by April. Museum Director Hope McMath said the Olmsted Garden has never been open to the public and in restoring it, found features such as this pergola.
A rendering of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens after its $4.5 million enhancement project, expected to be completed in September.
by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor
Announcing the $4.5 million enhancement of its 829 Riverside Ave. campus, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens Director Hope McMath said Wednesday the project will help "connect the dots" linking the historic Riverside community to Downtown.
"This becomes an extremely important zone for the city," McMath said, listing the riverfront and Riverside Avenue projects from Memorial Park at 1620 Riverside Ave. to The Florida Times-Union building at 1 Riverside Ave.
She and district City Council member Jim Love listed the park, a planned dog park, the Cummer, the Riverside Arts Market, the YMCA redevelopment, the 220 Riverside residential and retail development under way and the proposed Pope & Land residential project as some of the latest pivotal connectors to create that zone.
"This is not Downtown," Love said, referring to the technical definition, "but it really is."
As previously reported, the Cummer is restoring the Olmsted Garden; renovating and landscaping the front lawn to include a sculpture garden, outdoor seating for the TreeCup Café, enhanced landscaping and other features; and reconstructing the parking lots on the opposite side of Riverside Avenue.
The projects should be completed by September.
McMath said 97 percent of the funding has been raised and the remainder will be assisted by a "Dedicate a Brick Campaign" at $500 per brick.
She said the sculpture garden and the four Olmsted Garden spaces will be named for donors.
The project team consists of Elkins Constructors Inc.; CMS Group LLC; Connelly & Wicker Inc.; Atlantic Engineering Services; Sunscapes Landscape Design Inc.; Francois Goffinet Limited; and Richard Skinner & Associates Architects.