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Front Page » Top Stories » Restoration Of Japanese Garden Requires More Funds

Restoration Of Japanese Garden Requires More Funds

Written by on December 4, 2003

By Susan Stabley
A foundation is raising money to complete architect Lester Collins Pancoast’s final project, Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden on Watson Island.

Half of the $1.2 million budgeted for the project is still needed, said Meredith J. Nation, senior project representative with the City of Miami’s Department of Economic Development.

Mr. Pancoast, 72, died Nov. 21 and was the lead architect and designer on the garden’s resurrection.

Also known as a watercolor painter, he was a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and received his degree in architecture from Cornell University. He was a member of the Board of Governors of Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami and an overseer of The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Coconut Grove.

An account has been established through the Dade Community Foundation to raise money for the garden in Mr. Pancoast’s name, said Ms. Nation.

Renovation of the garden is being spearheaded by a coalition including the city, Miami Friends of the Japanese Garden and Jungle Habitat.

The garden is on an acre east of the new Parrot Jungle Island, which opened in July. Parrot Jungle has donated some money and in-kind services through its horticultural department, said Ms. Nation.

The garden opened in 1961 as San Ai-En Japanese Garden. It was a gift to the city by Kiyoshi Ichimura, founder of the Ricoh Corp. The garden was closed in 1981 but was restored and reopened seven years later as Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed the garden.

Mr. Pancoast finished his design, said Ms. Nation.

Money is needed for items such as benches and bridges and a perimeter wall, said Ms. Nation. The wall is key to the project, she said. "In order to create that peaceful, serene environment, you need to enclose that space."

An opening ceremony has been scheduled for April 29 in honor of Green Day, a Japanese national holiday celebrating nature and the environment.