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Back in March of this year, it was reported that the Volunteer Park Conservatory may be required to close because of budget cuts. Built in 1912, the conservatory celebrated its centennial this summer as well. Luckily for the historic building, as well as its hundreds of plants and many fans and visitors, the City of Seattle announced recently that the Conservatory will remain open.

Amidst other Parks and Recreation budget cuts, there was a concern that the cost of keeping the Conservatory open and running, about $450,000 per year, was not sustainable. However, the city’s recently approved operating budget updated the inclusions for the Conservatory to a more sustainable financial model.

In addition to the annual cost of running the place, critical structural repairs are necessary to maintain the hundred-year-old building. As the City noted in its announcement, the new budget for the Volunteer Park icon includes $2.3 million of the $3.1 million needed for the repairs. Individual donors have given thousands of dollars toward the remaining $750,000 needed for the restoration of the Conservatory.

Friends of the Conservatory and other volunteer efforts have been critical toward the sustainability of the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Alongside the donations for the repairs on the building, there will be a $4 entrance fee charged per visitor to support maintenance and education programs.

The Volunteer Park Conservatory holds tropical plants that have been collected and maintained over the 100 years of the building’s existence, and offers classes, day camps, events, and more for the neighborhood, Seattle community, and out-of-town visitors.

“As of early November, more than 100,000 people had visited the Conservatory this year, about two-thirds of them from outside Seattle. The Conservatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; it is also a City landmark and one of the few remaining original Victorian public glass houses in the country,” the city noted in its announcement.

As a side note, the Volunteer Park Express holiday display has been featured in the Conservatory since December 7th for the holidays. Visit in time to see it before Jan. 1st when it will be removed. Read more about the train in the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

Rovers Restaurant, located at 2808 East Madison Street, in the Madison Valley neighborhood, will be turning off the lights and closing the doors for good come April. After 25 years in business chef Rautureau decided it was time to pull the plug and move onto other opportunities. The restaurant will not be sold. Last year chef Rautureau had signed a one year extension on his current lease and was faced this year with having to renew the lease for 10 years. That apparently was not something Rautureau was interested in doing. Come April, when Rovers finally does close, it will be going out on top, as it was voted the #1 restaurant for food and service in Seattle by Zaggat’s. Congratulations to chef Rautureau, and thanks for all your years of service.

This Friday, December 21st, is the last day to vote on your favorite Seattle restaurants in and around the city! Seattle Magazine is hosting this vote to supply the best recommendations for their readers, and they need your help for suggestions and inspiration. Click here to vote. From the best places to grab a cup of Joe, to the most fantastic late-night or date-night eateries, you can be a part of Seattle Magazine’s references for establishments around the city that provide everything from indulgence to simple nourishment. Who knows? Your vote might make it into the best restaurants of 2013 – see Seattle Magazine’s Best Restaurants of 2012 here, which featured Madison Park’s very own Crush. Support your Madison Park restaurants, or hot foodie spots all over the city by casting your vote before Friday.

Now that we’re immersed in the holiday craziness that is the month of December, it’s gift-shopping time! As you work your way down your list of who’s been naughty or nice this year, don’t skip the great boutiques right here in Madison Park!

Here is a quick list of some awesome shops here in our neighborhood, where you can find something for pretty much everyone on your shopping list:

  • Canopy Blue: Everything sweet, feminine, and fashionable for the stylish lady in your life. Canopy Blue has basics and must-haves in apparel, jewelry, accessories, and other odds and ends. It’s also a great place to take breath of fresh air and a moment of respite from your hectic shopping.
  • Martha E. Harris Flowers and Gifts: Don’t forget the decorations! Martha E. Harris has seasonal selections and beautiful arrangements – perfect to finish your holiday table with color and cheer! The store’s home décor items offer a great selection of gifts, as well.
  • The Original Children’s Shop: This boutique is your one-stop shop for kids clothing, infants through pre-teens. Whether it be practical or adorable, you’ll find a great selection of children’s clothing and accessories at The Original Children’s Shop.
  • Red Wagon Toys: Step into this toy store to feel the Christmas buzz! Red Wagon Toys has toys of course, plus seasonal gifts, books, Kettler tricycles, arts and crafts, puzzles, games, dress-up, baby gifts, party supplies, and more.
  • Tina’s on Madison: A fabric store that’s a dream come true for the crafty collector in your life. Fabrics, trims, buttons and beads – Tina’s shop has everything from classic styles to special occasion materials.
  • Tricoter: Knitting isn’t just for Grandma anymore – knitters of all ages have been catching on to the fun and cozy practice. Tricoter offers design help and classes in addition to their knitting patterns and of course, colorful yarns!

Happy Holiday shopping!