APPLETON – Money problems are to blame for the closure of a longtime Appleton Park, according to the non-profit that runs it.
Gardens of the Fox Cities – a free public garden located within Appleton’s Memorial Park on the city’s north side – officially closed on Friday, Jan. 24. The gardens also served as an event space for things like weddings.
As sunlight shines on the now closed garden’s learning center, FOX 11’s learning tax documents are shining a light on a possible reason.
In 2012, the non-profit Gardens of the Fox Cities, Inc. had more expenses than revenue coming in, losing more than $130,000; in 2011, it showed a loss of more than $88,000.
Leaders of Gardens of the Fox Cities did not want to go on camera with FOX 11 and instead emailed us a statement.
“For the past 18 years, Gardens of the Fox Cities has operated as a free and public garden promoting an appreciation and understanding of plants and gardens in an enriching and inspiring environment,” said the non-profit’s Executive Director Lynn Van Vreede in the statement.
“As an organization, that receives no funding from any local, state or federal organizations we raised every dollar needed to maintain our gardens, employ our staff, and market our organization. Unfortunately this process of fundraising has presented itself as an insurmountable obstacle and ultimately our most responsible course of action is to close our doors.”
After 18 years.
With the future of the gardens frozen in place, what’s in store for the property?
The non-profit leased the land within Memorial Park, under an agreement with the city. However, the city owns the property.
City officials say they were notified of the groups wish to cancel its lease starting at the end of February. In order for that to happen, the city must sign off on the termination of the agreement.
FOX 11’s calls to Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna went unreturned.
No official notice to get out of the lease has been filed with the city, but that is expected within a week.