Elizabeth Park now has a Visitor Center, with information about activities taking place in the historic park, gifts available to purchase, and operational restrooms that are open to the public.

About 15 months ago, officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for renovations to the historic Brownstone building in Elizabeth Park, and on Thursday, with many of the donors who made the project possible in attendance, a celebratory grand opening and ribbon cutting was held, marking the completion of the work.

The Visitor Center has recently opened to the public and “everything has been going very well,” Elizabeth Park Conservancy President and CEO Christine Doty said Thursday. She expressed her sincere thanks to the donors, particularly the principal donor – the Garmany Fund of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor, speaking on behalf of other elected officials who were unable to attend, thanked donors for their “incredible generosity and commitment to this gem,” which she said is shared in spirit by Hartford and West Hartford.

“Thank you for your work, your vision, to make this possible,” Cantor said.

Ben Flynn, chairman of the Board of the Elizabeth Park Conservancy, also expressed his thanks. “We are so proud of what we have done,” he said.

This was a capital intensive project, that went slightly over budget, “but we are so pleased with the final project,” said Flynn.

“I think this garden represents both the ‘real’ and the ‘ideal,'” said Douglas Hyland, chairperson of the Visitor Center Committee.

“When I think of the half a million visitors who visit this garden in a normal year … we combine the ‘ideal’ of this garden now with the ‘real’ of bathrooms and information center, a place where you can actually come and learn about our programs and activities,” Hyland said.

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