Edwardsville considers taking over care of Gardens at SIUE

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Edwardsville city officials are considering taking over a sprawling garden on the campus of Southern Illinois University.

Mayor Hal Patton tells the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/28ZgbJM ) that the city is surveying residents about their interest in caring for the Gardens at SIUE.

The 35-acre preserve has become a stylish destination for photography and weddings.

The SIUE Foundation leased it in 2004 with plans to raise money for development. But fundraising has become difficult in recent years.

Rich Walker is SIUE interim vice-chancellor for administration. He says the school can no longer afford to subsidize the gardens because of the state budget crisis.

Patton estimates a $50,000 annual city budget, half the current cost.

It began as the Meyer Arboretum in 1990, named for an SIUE biology professor.