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McKinney, AgriLife Research and Extension to unveil demonstration gardens

Texas

The City of McKinney will host a grand opening on May 30 of McKinney Green Gardens, a public demonstration of water conservation and green infrastructure in landscape design.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the gardens at Gabe Nasbitt Park, 7001 W. Eldorado Parkway, McKinney.

McKinney Green Gardens was created in an educational partnership between the city and the Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service Urban Solutions Center in Dallas. AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension are agencies of the Texas A&M System.

The one-acre gardens were designed by the AgriLife Urban Solutions Center using research-based information and techniques, said Clint Wolfe, project coordinator with the center.

The grounds were designed to demonstrate that landscape, through proper plant selection, can be beautiful and conserve water at the same time, Wolfe said. The gardens will help educate children, homeowners, developers and landscapers about water-conservation practices.

"It's a beautifully designed collection of six small gardens that contain native plants and grasses or those well adapted to the North Texas environment," he said. "Visitors can stroll the property on winding paths or congregate in the center."

The gardens' educational program is supplemented by a free interactive Web site where visitors can view a layout of the grounds and review pictures and descriptions of plants and grasses. To see the site, visit http://McKinneyGreenGardens.tamu.edu .

Beginning at 10 a.m., McKinney Mayor Bill Whitfield will open the ceremony and introduce speakers including:

--Dr. Frank Gilstrap, AgriLife Urban Solutions Center director.

--U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, of Rockwall.

--U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, of Plano.

--Jim Parks, North Texas Municipal Water District general manager.

--Frank Regan, McKinney city manager.

--Dr. Dotty Woodson, AgriLife Urban Solutions Center program specialist for water resources.

The McKinney Green Gardens project is a product of a public-private relationship between McKinney and the AgriLife Urban Solutions Center, Wolfe said. Forged in March 2007, the partnership combines the center's expertise and the city's desire to integrate water conservation policies and practices in an ever-growing community that imposes increasing pressures on the region's water supply.



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