The University of Groningen (UG) and the Municipality of Groningen have reached a general agreement on the selling and purchase of the site of the Biotoop and Hortus Botanicus in Haren on 1 January 2023 for €3.6 million. The Municipal Council will make a definitive decision in late 2022. The current contracts with the Biotoop and the Hortus Botanicus have, in any case, been prolonged until late 2023. It is still unclear how the site will be organized and managed from 2024 onwards. This will be investigated in 2022.
The future of the Biotoop and the Hortus Botanicus site has been a discussion topic for some time now. Since April 2021, the UG and the Municipality have been researching the possibilities for the Municipality to acquire ownership of the premises. To this end, a lot of research has been conducted, and discussions have been held with the current owners.
Alderman Roeland van der Schaaf says: ‘As the board, we see the social, cultural, and recreational value of the Hortus Botanicus and the Biotoop for Haren’s residents. The Biotoop is an important incubator within the municipality. We want to keep these qualities alive in the coming years.’
The Municipality wants to preserve the already existing basic elements of the site, but it also sees how the organization and the management could be improved. In the longer term, there will likely be room for new development within the site or a part of it. The Municipality will be able to manage this by becoming the owner.
In 2022, before the Municipal Council can make a definitive decision, the Municipality will further investigate a number of aspects, including soil quality on the site and presence of asbestos in the Biotoop building. The Municipality will also hold follow-up meetings with CareX (empty building management firm), Stichting Behoud Groene Hortus (foundation for the preservation of the green Hortus), Vereniging Vrienden van de Hortus ‘Henricus Munting’ (Henricus Munting association for friends of the Hortus), and Stichting Het Groninger Landschap (the Groningen landscape foundation). Furthermore, the Municipality will hold talks with users, residents, volunteers, and other involved parties this year about the advantages and disadvantages of the current situation and the opportunities for a stable future of the site.
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