RFQ: Botanical Gardens Master Plan

Request for Qualifications and Interest

Update Florida Botanical Gardens Master Plan


The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation (FBGF) in collaboration with the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department (PCR) will be undertaking a master planning process to identify and prioritize updates and improvements to the Florida Botanical Gardens over a 5-year period. The Florida Botanical Gardens are located on an 100 acre site in Largo. The site is owned by Pinellas County and is part of an extensive tract of County owned properties located along the McKay Creek Greenway including Walsingham, Taylor and Ridgecrest regional parks, Heritage Village Historical Museum, Emergency Management Services, Animal Control and the Gardens. Numerous projects of modest scale have been undertaken to improve the Gardens since the original construction in 1999 & 2000. It is recognized that at nearly 20 years of age it is time to reassess the overall Garden complex and its infrastructure.

The Gardens were opened to the public in December of 2000 and have been free to all visitors. The property includes several buildings, the main building houses the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service and is the main office of Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources. This building includes staff offices, the FBGF operated Botanical Bounty Gift Shop, Extension Horticulture Help Desk and several conference and meeting rooms used for meetings, trainings and educational programs. Other buildings on site include a museum complex originally constructed to house the now defunct Gulf Coast Museum of Art that are being used short term by various organizations.

The Foundation is involved in programming for the site which include tours, events, and educational activities.  The Foundation’s most significant event is its annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens, a nighttime event that runs from Thanksgiving to New Year Day, requests a nominal donation from visitors and is its primary fundraiser. In 2016 it is estimated that 70,000 people enjoyed a visit to observe the light displays.

The FBGF and PCR have appropriated $30,000 to engage a planning and design consultant to prepare an updated Master Plan.  The process will involve: facilitating a series of workshops with various stakeholders, evaluating the botanical collections, identifying possible infrastructure improvements and preparing conceptual level designs for potential projects. The residents of Pinellas County self-assess a one cent sales tax, called “Penny for Pinellas”. The 2020-2030 Penny For Pinellas project list will make over one (1) million dollars available to the Florida Botanical Gardens for design and construction of projects identified in this 5-year plan.  The Foundation will also seek private donations and grants for project implementation.

The FBGF will be the lead in the management of the Master Plan process in close partnership with PCR. Consequently, we are seeking qualifications from firms or individuals who have the experience and expertise to bring the plan to fruition. The intent is to select 2-3 of firms that will be asked to submit a proposed scope of work. An interview with FBGF and County representatives will follow prior to final selection.

The anticipated schedule is as follows:

Release of RFQ – November 1, 2017

RFQ Response due – November 30, 2017

Selection of 2-3 Prospective Proposers – December 15, 2017

Receipt of Proposals – January 19, 2018

Final Selection and Notice to Proceed – February 2, 2018

Completion of Draft Plan – April 30, 2018

Completion of final Master Plan – May 18, 2018


Responses should be sent to

Vernon Bryant, Executive Director

Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation

12520 Ulmerton Road

Largo, FL 33774


Or electronically to flbgfoundation@gmail.com