Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans land purchase from Lakeside Baptist Church for expansion

Under the purchase agreement, ownership will transfer in July 2025
Under the purchase agreement, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans to buy 6.2 acres of land from Lakeside Baptist Church for $1.9 million.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is planning to buy land from their neighbor, Lakeside Baptist Church, as part of their vision to expand their 82 acres of property in Lakeside.

On Thursday morning, Henrico leaders gathered in front of the garden’s conservatory to announce the purchase agreement, which would be the largest expansion on the grounds since the garden’s opening in 1987.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans to buy land from Lakeside Baptist Church.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans to buy land from Lakeside Baptist Church.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

“We’re honored the church has chosen us to help steward and continue their work,” said Brian Trader, president and CEO of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

As part of the plan, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is planning to purchase 6.2 acres of land from Lakeside Baptist for $1.9 million. Henrico County plans to support this sale by contributing $750,000 over the next three years. Officials add the garden will raise the remaining $1.15 million needed to cover the cost through donors.

“Helping the garden grow and thrive makes sense for us as a county,” said Dan Schmitt, a Henrico County Board of Supervisors member.

The idea for this purchase agreement stems from when church leaders approached Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to gauge interest in the potential sale in Oct. 2021.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans to purchase 6.2 acres of land from Lakeside Baptist Church,...
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plans to purchase 6.2 acres of land from Lakeside Baptist Church, marking the largest expansion on grounds since 1987.(Sour | Henrico County)

For decades, Trader said the church has been a good neighbor.

“We felt that this was the best decision,” said Robert Jones, a trustee for Lakeside Baptist Church.

Jones adds this decision was made because the church believes this land will help enhance the garden’s mission.

“Their community support and activities, educational events, benefited all of us,” said Jones at the podium.

As far as what the 6.2 acres of land will be used for, Trader said nothing is concrete yet.

“We’re really hopeful that this will amplify our horticultural and botanical mission,” he said. “We envision maybe a center for horticultural excellence, so how that might support horticultural operations, but also education.”

Vision leaders in the county hope will blossom into more opportunities for the area.

“It enhances the attractiveness for business investment in our community, and it enriches the quality of life for residents who live here,” said Schmitt during the press conference.

“We still have a church. We’re not dissolving,” Jones said. “If I can work out an agreement with the new owners of the church in 2025, we’ll stay at Lakeside.”

Under this agreement, ownership will transfer in July 2025.