Former Newark Floral getting new life as non-profit takes over facility

It’s been closed and vacant since 2012, but the former Newark Floral is undergoing significant renovations and improvements to give it new life.

The 315,000 square foot greenhouse space was originally constructed for the use of indoor growing, processing, storage, and shipping of plants. It will still be used for these purposes by Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, Inc.

Virginia Conservation is a non-profit, which will work to grow tree seedlings in Newark as part of a much larger mission.

The Earth Restoration Project, which is headquartered at Virginia’s Natural Bridge Park is a collaborative effort of VCLF, community groups and national/international organizations dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and protection of the land and environment.

Global reforestation is one of the many projects being implemented by VCLF’s environmental team to support the organization’s mission. The Newark greenhouse is an integral component to their global reforestation project. Millions of trees will begin their journey here in New York.

Since closing in 2012, the former Newark Floral greenhouse has fallen into disrepair and requires a significant amount of work to restore it to operating condition. Despite its current state, Tom Clarke, President of VCLF, decided to take on the enormous project of rehabbing the greenhouse.

Clarke has been involved in various large-scale projects across the country, including the purchase of failing coal mines so they can be reclaimed, and the acquisition of threatened spaces in Virginia to eventually be adopted by the state.

Greenhouse Manager, Laura Bailey, grew up in the Finger Lakes Region and is excited to join VCLF’s greenhouse project in Newark. Bailey is passionate about growing trees for reforestation efforts and looking forward to doing it where she grew up. She has been working with local businesses for repairs, supplies, and services and said “The local community and businesses have been very welcoming.” She continued by pointing out that she looks forward to working with the community.

Mayor Jonathan Taylor agreed with that sentiment – pointing out Newark’s collective excitement. “We are very excited to have VCLF here in Newark. We share a vision with VCLF, and look forward to having the greenhouse up-and-running again, providing more jobs to our community.”

The organization says that winterization is the first priority at the facility. Much of the poly sheeting is torn or gone from the roof and walls, allowing wind, rain and snow to enter Once the structure is enclosed, repairs within the facility can start. The glass greenhouses on the east side of the building are projected to be first operational greenhouses inside the facility.

Progress can be followed at their Facebook Page: Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund Land Trust