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GDL Co-Funds Master Plan for Revamp of Hope Gardens

In early 2012 the Royal Botanical Gardens, more commonly called Hope Gardens, hosted an intimate event to share a Master Plan for the revamp of the facility. The Master Plan was completed by local architectural firm, Portico Limited, who was paid jointly by both Gore Developments Limited and Sagicor to complete the new layout of the property.

The expansive plan lays out many new attractions within the venue which include a butterfly house, zip line, event centre, space for several restaurants, cycle track, outdoor gym, tour, water park, to name a few. All activities will be aimed at being recreational while highlighting and persevering the natural ambiance and serving as educational tools where appropriate.

The Friends of Hope Gardens, a voluntary group who aims to build Hope Gardens as an independently sustained attraction, is now focusing its energies on establishing the gardens as a popular venue of choice for various events and private functions as a part of its long-term goal of revamping the use of entire facility.

According to Mrs. Christine Gore, the representative from Gore Developments Limited who sits on the Friends of Hope Gardens executive team of 20 persons, "There are so many things to be done, but we're invested in creating a sustainable experience at Hope Gardens for the long term benefit of Jamaica. Right now we're working on creating an excellent tour of the gardens, which we want to be ready for the summer youth programme so that the young people can explore, enjoy and learn about nature during their summer work experience, and we are also determined to establish Hope Gardens as a venue of choice for corporate and private events."

Established in 1873, Hope Gardens, which is managed and operated by non-governmental organisation Nature Preservation Foundation, is today the largest public green space in Kingston, and is home to Jamaica's most popular collection of endemic and exotic botanical collections, occupying some 200 acres of land.

Mrs. Gore has engulfed herself in revitalising activity of the Friends of Hope Gardens group since early 2011 when her husband Phillip Gore, CEO of Gore Developments Limited, visited the gardens and realised some of the property's roads were in disrepair. He asked Mrs. Gore to investigate and coordinate the donation of the repairs on behalf of his company. Upon investigation Mrs. Gore realised that the state of the roadways were a result of drainage issues, and the project became much more involved than initially projected. Since then, Gore Developments, headed by Mrs. Gore, has been heavily invested in the revamping of Hope Gardens, assisting with many key projects.

Along with helping to revitalise the association of Friends of Hope Gardens, Gore has also footed half the cost of the architectural fees for creating the Hope Gardens revamp plan, accessed support from other friends within the Friends of Hope Gardens community and beyond, sponsored the summer Youth Programme, donated needed tools and equipment for diaily operations, began coordination of an official Hope Gardens tour, sponsored staff training and begun work on a Hope Gardens website.

Foremost on the Friends of Hope Gardens immediate agenda is the establishment of Hope Gardens as a sought after event destination for cocktail parties graduations, children's parties, weddings, corporate affairs, food events, yoga and wellness activities and other events, which the team believes will be a first step in ensuring the venue's sustainability.