After six months of repairs following a brutal hailstorm that destroyed roughly half of the glass-encased greenhouses, the Garfield Park Conservatory opened the last two rooms that had been closed for repairs Sunday.
The Desert House and Aroid House were reopened to the public Sunday at a special event, WBEZ reports. The roofs of these rooms are now lined with polycarbonate sheets for added protection.
Zvezdana Kubat, a spokesperson with the Chicago Park District, says that the openings are temporary, and made possible by the installation of reinforced winter protections.
The clean-up and short-term repairs allowing for the temporary opening have cost at least $2 million according to Fox Chicago, and have been labor-intensive. Shards of glass were removed "piece by piece, by hand" to preserve some of the conservatory's oldest and most delicate plants.
Permanent improvements, including the installation of new glass, are scheduled to begin in mid-spring, and will depend on further fundraising efforts, Kubat said. Proceeds from the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance's fourth annual "Fleurotica" event March 23 will be donated to help augment the cost of the extensive repairs required.
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