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Green Bay Botanical Garden's Grand Garden complete

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Donald J. Schneider Family Grand Garden at the Green Bay Botanical Garden, September 7, 2017. (WLUK/Mike Murad)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Back in 1996, the Green Bay Botanical Garden's founders envisioned a space that included an amphitheater for the performing arts, and now, it's here.

From the groundbreaking almost a year ago, to the ribbon cutting today.

Four new buildings were unveiled on the two-and-a-half acre site Thursday with the centerpiece being the Donald J. Schneider Family Grand Garden amphitheater.

The garden's executive director, Susan Garot, says it adds another performance venue in the region that pairs the arts with culture with scenery unseen in many other places.

"There's just nowhere. You can go to an outdoor amphitheater setting for a concert but there's nothing like the garden as the backdrop for the music or whether it's an acting performance or whatever it is. It sets a stage that no one else has," Garot said.

More than 300 donors contributed more than $5.5 million to make it all happen. And although some have passed on since making their gift, their legacy will continue.

"Oh, she's smiling. I'm not sure about putting her name on it, she never did like that much, but I don't think she's going to complain anymore, so we get away with it this time," said John Kress, son of donor, Irene Kress.

The timetable for construction stayed on schedule but because of the soggy summer we had, the wildcard for all of this was the vegetation which came through at the last moment.

"It pushed us right to the edge. In fact you can see there's still grass that has just been laid down," Garot said.

Officials are now hoping they've planted the seeds to opening up the Botanical Garden to a whole new audience for decades to come.

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