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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Unveils Master Plan for Expansion

PORTLAND, Maine - The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay has laid out a new master plan that includes a new glass conservatory, year-round hours and up to 10 times the number of visitors envisioned when it initially opened in 2007.

Back then, the sprawling botanical facility on the Maine coast was expected to accommodate up to 40,000 visitors a year - a level achieved in its first year, before acreage was doubled.

The latest 20-year plan for the gardens envisions welcoming 300,000 to 400,000 visitors a year. That would involve Coastal Maine Botanical becoming a year-round facility with more horticultural capacity, educational and research facilities, and expanded dining options.

Executive Director William Cullina says one of the plan's marquee projects is construction of a 22,000-square-foot glass conservatory for the indoor display of plants. "It has to have enough scale so when you walk in you sort of forget that you're indoors."

Plans for the conservatory, which Cullina says would be the largest such structure in New England, are still in the permitting phase. He says, if all goes as planned, it could open in late 2019 or 2020.