SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A ribbon cutting was hosted at the Rose Garden at Close Memorial Park to honor it becoming more handicap accessible.

The Friends of the Garden said the project has taken two and a half years to complete.

Lisa Bakerink, development director for Friends of the Garden, said when her group began talking about plans to renovate the garden, a generous donor stepped up.

“I love the public-private partnership,” said Bakerink. “You know, this is public land, but a private donor comes, sees a need and helps us make gardens accessible to everyone, and helps beautify this park.”

Bakerink said more than 8,000 people visit Close Memorial Park every year.

The Japanese Stroll Garden doubled the number of visitors between 2019 and 2020.