Powell Gardens has launched two new capital improvement projects that highlight their role as environmental stewards.

In the works: a new entrance and a new septic system.

“By upgrading these things, we hope to revitalize the gardens to become more sustainable and even more inspiring,” says Kunso Kim, the botanical garden’s new vice president. “We want to be a role model for others to follow.”

As visitors approached the entrance on Highway 50 in Kingsville, Mo., several dilapidated storage buildings were creating an eyesore.

In July, Pearce Construction Co. demolished the structures to clear the way for the next phase of a redesigned entrance into the gardens.

Renderings by Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects LLC give a preview of an entrance gate that will be easier to spot from the highway and offer more direct access. The entrance will also incorporate better signage to reinforce the message Powell Gardens is Kansas City’s botanical garden.

Look for a “Future Entrance of Powell Gardens” sign to go up as the Capital Campaign raises funds for the next phase.

Another important improvement currently in progress includes upgrading a 30-year-old septic system and installing a state-of-the-art drip disposal system in its place.

The work to bring the system into compliance with current state regulations is under the supervision of Allstate Consultants, an engineering company based in Columbia, Mo.

“We’re currently working with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on how we’ll be proceeding, and we’re providing details and a timeline,” Kim says. “The new system is a great improvement and absolutely clean.”

When construction is complete, the effluent will be treated and pumped by a drip disposal system onto a field to be absorbed by soil and vegetation.

Kim joined the Powell Gardens staff as vice president in January 2018 to fill a newly combined position that includes oversight of horticulture as well maintenance oversight with an eye toward garden aesthetics and sustainability through increased use of proven performers, including native plants.

He previously led a team at Samsung’s Everland, a 653-acre, eco-themed park in Korea featuring rides, horticultural attractions and a zoo that drew 8 million visitors a year.

“Our role as a botanical garden is to help communicate the beauty of nature and get people inspired,” Kim says. “We really need to show people what we do and help them understand the importance of our mission.”