ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– The weather this winter has been brutal for crews trying to make important improvements at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It’s the third most visited garden of its kind in the world. And the Japanese Garden is one of the biggest in North America. Ken Kolb is a carpenter working on the repairs during one of the most challenging winters in his career. He said, “One of the worst I can remember.”
Kolb and his Waterhout Construction crews are replacing four bridges and two waterfalls as well as a few other projects in the Japanese Garden. It was first dedicated back in 1977. Some of the structures were becoming weak and unsightly. Wood was rotting. Ben Chu is in charge of the Japanese Garden, “37 years takes its toll on wooden structures especially those members that are below ground or below water.” Chu said they are not using Redwood this time for the bridges, instead they’ve chosen Cypress. Doing it the old way would have resulted in the destruction of too many Redwood trees and Cypress is easily obtainable from Louisiana. Chu added, “It’s been reclaimed from the swamps, logs that have sunk or that have been lost in the swamp are re-milled lumber made for the bridges.”
The four month long project costs about $2 million and is being paid for with donations. For Ken Kolb this job has special meaning. His father was a plumber in the seventies and worked on the new waterfalls in the Japanese Garden and now Ken has returned. Kolb said, “I got to hear about it when I was a little kid and now I get to live it again and I actually get to do some work on it.”
They hope to have everything ready by the end of March.