Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to purchase property from Lakeside Baptist Church

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will acquire 6.2 acres of land along the western edge of its location on Lakeside Avenue from the Lakeside Baptist Church in a purchase financially supported by Henrico County.

The non-profit community garden has agreed to purchase the church property at 7401 Woodman Road for $1.9 million. Henrico County will contribute $750,000 over three years, and the garden will raise the rest of the money from donors. The land will be officially transferred in July 2025.

The plot borders the garden on its north and east sides and includes a 1963 sanctuary and classroom buildings totaling 23,700 square feet. The garden, at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, currently covers 82 acres. The grounds of Lakeside Baptist Church will represent the largest expansion of its grounds since the garden opened in 1987.

Church leaders contacted Lewis Ginter officials in October 2021 to gauge interest in a potential sale, President and CEO Brian Trader said Thursday.

“We are honored that Lakeside Baptist Church offered us this opportunity and are extremely grateful to Henrico County for making it possible,” Trader said. “The church and the garden have been wonderful neighbors for the past four decades, which ensures the continuity of the church’s legacy. It also provides additional future opportunities as the garden seeks to serve the community in exciting and innovative ways.

Henrico’s supervisors Dan Schmitt of the Brookland District and Frank Thornton of the Fairfield District welcomed the deal and welcomed the opportunity for the garden to grow.

“This agreement to add 6.2 acres to the Lakeside Garden is great news for all parties – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Lakeside Baptist Church and Henrico County,” said Schmitt, who also serves on the garden’s board of directors. “Henrico and his Board of Supervisors are pleased to support this effort as it will enable the garden to continue to serve our residents and our community for generations to come.”

Thornton added, “The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an absolute treasure for Henrico County as well as our region and state. It promotes attendance and tourism, with more than 390,000 visitors, including students, last year. The garden also helps us appreciate the beauty of our natural world and brings joy and peace to our lives. With this additional land, Lewis Ginter will be poised to grow and flourish for years to come.

Reverend Becky Gunter, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, called the announcement of the transfer of ownership a historic moment for the church, the garden and the community. She thanked Lewis Ginter for being a good neighbor and said the church community felt especially blessed to see the Garden Dome lit up during its annual light show.

“Over the years, we’ve taken great pride in telling people that this beautiful, colorful flower garden is part of our property,” she said. “Unbeknownst to Lewis Ginter, they were a ‘directional’ beacon to the location of our church. We come with mixed emotions, but are delighted to know that the property will continue to be used to bless many people for years to come. As Mr. Rogers would say, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”

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